The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is working with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to establish how a couple purchased an agrochemical for domestic use, leading to the poisoning and death of their three children.
The FDA in a statement said the fumigant used was an agrochemical, meant to protect stored grains from rodents.
“Preliminary checks by the FDA have revealed that the family used the said pesticide (TOPSTOXIN), which has aluminium phosphide as its active ingredient.
Aluminium phosphide is used as a fumigant to protect stored grains from insects and rodents, which makes the product an agrochemical, and not a household chemical.
In the presence of moisture, this drug releases phosphine, which is highly toxic, the FDA said.
Though the regulation of such products falls out of its domain, the FDA said it was still involved in the investigations.
“Although the product is a pesticide which does not fall under the regulation of the FDA, the FDA is liaising with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Ministry to investigate the source and distribution channels for the product.”
The deceased children, nine-month-old twin girls and their two-year-old brother, died at Abavana Down, a suburb of Accra, last Friday night.
Their parents were also affected by the pesticide. The affected family was found to be convulsing.
Their neighbours rushed them and their parents to the 37 Military Hospital for medical care.
The substance, also known as AlP, is used as a rodenticide and insecticide, and a fumigant for stored cereal grains.
Experts say it is used to kill small verminous mammals such as moles and rodents.