Widely used the world over as a molluscicide to eradicate snails and slugs, metaldehyde itself is highly toxic to animals that unknowingly ingest it. A lot of pets, birds and wild animals that have come into contact with this chemical have ended up dead. This has been a widespread concern to animal and birds lovers the world over. Also referred to as Metason, Ortho, Slug Death, Limatox, Antimilace, Halizan, Namekil, Antimitace, Slug-Tox, etc., metaldehyde is the only pesticide approved in many countries for use on crops.
Snails and slugs manifestation in the farms around the world has of late become a growing issue that has to checked one way or another. And what is better than the usage of the approved metaldehyde? Metaldehyde is used in varied ornamental crops, vegetables, fruits, banana trees to control the said pests. Apply it on the soils around the plants. However, take care not to contaminate edible parts of the plants, for instance the roots. It is applied primarily in the form of dusts, sprays, granules, or as a mixture of the chemical and bran so as to bait the pest to be eradicated. How does it work? It mainly works by releasing toxic effects in the stomach of pest after being ingested.
Toxicity and Solutions
- Ingestion: Don’t induce vomiting if ingested; rather give the victim three to four glasses of water. If vomiting does occur, give more fluids to the victim. Seek immediate medical attention. The doctor should then determine if patient condition allows the induction of vomiting or the total evacuation of the stomach. If the victim is unconscious, or convulsing don’t give him or her anything by the mouth.
- The eyes: Flush both eyes with plenty of running cold water for fifteen minutes. The eyelids should be held apart when flushing the eyes so as to make sure the whole eyes’ surface is cleaned up. If the irritation persists, seek medical attention immediately.
- Inhalation: Get the victim out in the open or in a well ventilated place. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen to the victim. And if breathing has altogether stopped, clear the airway and if possible start mouth to mouth resuscitation. Seek medical care assistance immediately.
- The skin: Wash the affected skin with plenty of running water and soap. If the clothes are contaminated, remove them and wash them before reusing. If irritation persists, immediately contact a physician.
When handling this chemical, wear protective clothing and equipment. And in case of spillage, vacuum or sweep up the chemical, then place it in appropriate disposal container. Remember to remove any source of ignition while doing the clean up. To be able to accomplish this, make use of a spark-proof tool.
Storage and Handling
Pull out of the contaminated clothes, and then wash them before re-using them. Apart from this, avoid contact with the skin, clothing and eyes. And at all costs avoid inhalation and ingestion.
For storage, store metaldehyde in a cool dry place or in a tightly closed container. Apart from this, it should be kept away from animal feeds, human food and drinks. It should be kept away from the kids and the pets.
To protect the skin, wear suitable protective gloves so as to avoid unnecessary skin exposure. Additionally, wear protective clothing to minimize contact with the chemical. For eye protection when applying the chemical, be sure to wear protective safety glasses and chemical goggles if splashing is possible. To protect against inhalation, wear an approved full face respirator (airline’s if possible).
All in all, be aware that metaldehyde is fatal to pets, for instance dogs, wild animals and birds if ingested. It is also toxic to water inhabitants; therefore you should ensure that you don’t contaminate water bodies.