Sunday, October 9, 2011

TOXIC TIMBERS - JUST HOW SAFE ARE THE TREATED TIMBERS IN YOUR HOME ??



 The full story can be found in The Green Times  : 

http://www.thegreentimes.co.za/stories/vulnerable-people/item/580-plumstead-family-displaced-from-poisoned-house


As a result of the V&A Poisonings, The TATIB Foundation received a large number of  emails from members of the public requesting help with similar cases of exposure to pesticides.

One of the complaints was from a couple who had purchased a house in Plumstead, Cape Town. They had discovered that the floorboards of their newly purchased house were riddled with borer beetle. In this regard they had contracted Pestokill to eradicate the infestation in December 2010.   A poison called  "Timberlife  CTX 108"  was sprayed and then poured onto the floorboards.  To date, almost 1 year after the product was applied, the complainants have been unable to move back into their house, due to the fact that there is still considerable "off gassing" of toxic, volatile solvents coming from the floorboards that were treated with Timberlife CTX 108. [air sampling done inside the house has proven this]

Noseweek has just run a story  "Useless Buggers"  which can be found by clicking the link below :
http://www.scribd.com/doc/68133987/Nose-Week

The victims have also written their account of the story here  :

After falling ill, and then reading about the V&A Poisonings, the complainants contacted us for help. The first thing that we did was to access Timberlife's website so as to download the statutory Product Labels in an attempt to find out what CTX 108 was made of.

Timberlife's website  :    www.timberlife.co.za

On their "company" section Timberlife states :

" However, at the end of the day it is the customer that dictates what he wants and it is therefore necessary to satisfy his needs. Our philosophy has always been to listen to the customer and whenever, work with him rather than against him. We therefore believe that “feed-back is the food of kings”.

We were unable to find the statutory  Product Label nor the Material Safety Data sheets,

but only the CTX 108  Data Sheets . See link below :

This is where things started to become interesting !! 
From past experience, with treated timber, our research had shown, that more than often [and this has been confirmed by international laboratory studies] the inactive ingredients are more toxic than the active ingredients.  We took note, on the CTX 108 Data Sheet, that  the active ingredients had been dissolved in "aromatic solvents".  It was interesting that neither the names of the active ingredients nor the names of the actual "aromatic solvents"  had been specified on the CTX 108 Data Sheets. Surely the end user, the "customer",   has the right to know the ingredients of the product he is using or about to use so that he/she can make an informed decision with regards to the safety of a product?

Believing that "feedback is the food of kings" and that "the customer is always right " and hoping that Timberlife would bend over backwards to give us the information that we needed,   we sent Timberlife a couple of emails, in which we requested that they send us the statutory Product Labels and Material Safety Data Sheets [ as required by law] . We also asked that they give us details of not only the active ingredients, but also the inactive ingredients of Timberlife CTX 108.

They did not respond directly and instead got their attorneys to send us the Material Safety Data Sheets together with a strongly worded letter in which they not only reserved their rights but also threatened to take legal action against us. 

Our intention was never to hold Timberlife liable for the damage to the health and property of the complainants [a High Court date has already been set with regards to the damages claim being made against Pestokill the company that applied the product] but to simply get more information from them, the suppliers of the product, as we felt that they had a "duty of care" to furnish us, and the victims, with details as to the side effects and toxicity of their product so that steps could be taken to prevent any further damage to the health of the complainants, especially now that they have a 5 month old baby girl.  It was never our intention to "harm" Timberlife's business, after all our requests were submitted to them and only them, and all we were asking for was statutory information, not trade secrets!! Timberlife did not apply the CTX 108 and so cannot be blamed for the unlawful application made by Pestokill.  But as the manufacturers of the product they really should, in our opinion, have been prepared to furnish us all with the information that we had requested.

Do you, the end user, have the right to know the ingredients of a product that you have purchased ? Do you as a consumer,  have the right to do your own research so as to establish the safety of a product that you will come into close contact with on a daily basis ?



We have managed to get a copy of the statutory Product Label from the National Department of Agriculture,  which can be found at the following link : 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/68139880/CTX108-Product-Label

Take note that the product contains  :

  • Cypermethrin [synthetic pyrethroid]
  • TCMTB : 2-[thiocyanomethylthio] benzothiazole [organosulphur compound]
  • Aliphatic and aromatic petroleum solvents  [Fluidar 100 and others]
The Material Safety Data Sheets are available here : 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/68591705/Material-Data-Sheet-CTX-108
     It's now also come out, that CTX 108 contains Fluidar100, which in turn contains Benzene.  

    Note the highlighted warnings on the attached Product Label for Fluidar 100 :
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68147341/Fluidar-100

    More on Cypermethrin , a suspected carcinogen and possible endocrine disruptor can be found here :
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68144388/CYPERMETHRIN
    &
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/airline-pays-out-euro50000-in-pestkiller-spray-case-2842846.html

    More on TCMTB, a possible carcinogen,  can be found here  :
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68144849/TCMTB

    More on Benzene, a known carcinogen & reproductive / developmental toxin, and aliphatic / aromatic solvents can be found here :
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68145294/Benzene
    &
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68145497/Aliphatic-Aromatic-Solvents


    Following further tests, on the soil in and around the house and below the timber floors, the risk manager for Wasteman Holdings, has we have been told,  indicated that the degree of contamination was very serious indeed and may entail wider environmental impacts. 

    It has recently been confirmed that the National Department of Agriculture has laid charges.




    2 comments:

    1. Dear Tatib,

      I would like to thank you for bringing this important issue to our attention. Why have Timberlife not responded? Do you think that they may perhaps have something to hide?

      Perhaps they dont care about the end user. The consumer who purchases their products ?

      ReplyDelete
    2. Thanks for this informative article and for the links to the product information and also to the Green Times.

      What amazes me is that a toxic product like Timberlife can be sold to the public who will more than likely think it is safe to use. It is about high time that manufacturers of harmful products get sued not only for putting the health of the public at risk, but also for misleading them, which clearly Timberlife have attempted to do by not providing everyone with the information that they requested.

      I would say they need to be named and shamed and their toxic products withdrawn.

      Where is the Department of Agriculture in all of this ?

      ReplyDelete