EPA tells customers to stay away from Crocodile Coil brand


Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 2

All seven mosquito coils made by the Crocodile Coil brand tested by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) contained dioxin levels more than 100 times the industrial norm, the EPA said at a press conference yesterday.

As the products pose a possible health risk, people should avoid buying Crocodile Coil products until the matter is resolved, the EPA said.

In addition to recalling all its products, Crocodile Coil said it would offer refunds to customers, EPA Deputy Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) said.

The EPA’s investigation of dioxin levels in all the mosquito coils on the market came after the administration’s unexpected finding during a random inspection on July 25 that two Crocodile Coil brand products — Vietnam-made Crocodile Dye-free Coil (product No. 0661) and Crocodile Light (product No. 0670) — contained 423 and 348 picograms of international toxic equivalent per gram (pg I-TEQ/g) of dioxin respectively.

Dioxins are listed by the WHO as carcinogens. If exposed to burning coils in closed environments for two or three months, a person’s risk of developing cancer could increase 3.7-fold, said ­director-general of the Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substances Yuan Shao-ying (袁紹英).

After receiving the test results last month, the EPA demanded that Crocodile Coil withdraw the two products and two other ­Vietnam-made coils from the market and said it would test all mosquito coils sold in Taiwan.

“After testing 20 products, we found that seven contained dioxin levels ranging from 163 to 624 pg I-TEQ/g, while the levels in the other 13 were 0 to 4 pg I-TEQ/g. All seven contaminated products were from the Crocodile Coil brand,” Chang said.

Although the contamination is believed to have originated from wood powders Crocodile Coil purchased from a Vietnamese firm — which it then distributed to its plants in Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Malaysia — Chang said the EPA had nevertheless demanded that Crocodile Coil launch an investigation to determine the source.

People who have been using the coils should not be overly worried, however, Yuan said.

“If a person has used the coils according to the instructions on the package ... the chances of inhaling excess dioxins are low,” Yuan said.