Coil by inf3ktion
My landlord has a nice garden, which also breeds a shit-ton of mosquitoes. To fight these I’ve been using an electrified tennis racket (which I call the Death Machine), but, as satisfying as it is, this is not especially effective. Damn mosquitoes keep coming. I finally caved today and bought some coils.
Mosquito coils are these toxic loops that you burn in your house to keep mozzies at bay. I’ve avoided them because A) I can’t be assed going to the store B) I don’t quite believe that they work and C) I think they may be as unhealthy ad mosquitoes. So what’s the scene?
The general consensus seems to be A) just go to the store and B) coils do repel mosquitoes. I just started burning them today in earnest so we shall see. It’s better than nothing, and they cost like Rs 65 for a pack of ten, if I remember correctly. But what of C, the health benefits.
Coils work by releasing particulates into the air which immobilize and repel mosquitoes. The people indoors, however, are breathing those same particles, which can’t be good. On the plus side, the main active ingredient is usually Pyrethrum, which is a genus of the Chrysanthemum flower. Which seems ancient and cool. I dunno how often they bloom but it’d be lovely to have a garden full of mosquito repelling Chrysanthemums. The industrial product, however, is either synthesized or mixed with other toxins, making it extra toxic.
How toxic? This NCBI link says that the particulate matter from one coil is equal to round 100 cigarettes. The amount of formeldahyde is equal to about 50 cigarettes. It’s not a study of the exact brands used in Sri Lanka, but we’re obviously not sniffing flowers. I’ve seen similar studies from India. I checked the pack I got (Mortein) and it says Allethrin, which is a synthetic. And they don’t give you the full ingredient list at all, which is dodgy.
I’m honestly pretty convinced that mosquito coils are bad, but I’m still using them anyways. I’m shit scared of dengue, which has recently killed healthy people my age, and I really hate mosquitoes. So the long term risks of coils – namely cancer and God knows what else – are ones I’m willing to bear.
That said, this isn’t a solution to the mosquito problem or dengue. It’s just a band-aid. Colombo desperately needs to sort out its drainage and garbage situation that breeds these deadly pests, and people also need to take better care of their neighborhoods. Mosquito coils are a shitty stopgap measure which introduce new problems of their own.