Fly sprays banned over cancer fears

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Shops were told by the Government yesterday to clear shelves of almost 50 makes of insect killer because of fears they could cause cancer.

Acting on scientific advice, ministers decided to suspend from sale a list of products, including some from household names such as Boots, Superdrug and Vapona.

The decision makes it illegal to sell, advertise or supply the products concerned. Health chiefs stressed it was a precautionary move until further tests have been made.

The 47 products on the suspended list include fly, moth, wasp and cockroach killers.

The decision was taken after the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) said it could not rule out a cancer risk from a chemical called dichlorvos which all the products contain. There are fears that long-term exposure to the chemical could be linked to skin, liver and breast cancer.

Alan Whitehead, the Health and Safety minister, said the step was taken "in the light of careful consideration of independent scientific advice".

The list of suspended products include Vapona Fly Small Space Fly Killer and Fly and Wasp Killer Spray. Other makes included are Boots Slow-Release Fly Killer and Superdrug Small Space Fly/Moth Strip.

The ACP advised that people can use up dichlorvos products they have already bought, and may dispose of them in their household rubbish bins.