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FDA warns public on use and abuse of naphthalene balls


The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has issued a warning to the public regarding the improper use and abuse of naphthalene balls. It urged the public to follow the labelling instructions for products containing naphthalene and other chemicals to ensure their health and safety. In a press statement released on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, the FDA stated that while naphthalene-containing products are registered for use as insecticides in Ghana, they should not be misused.

The FDA warned that “these products should not come into contact with children or food, including water, and as a flammable material, should be kept away from fire. According to the FDA, it has implemented strict labelling requirements to ensure consumer safety.

Registered naphthalene products in Ghana must include comprehensive usage instructions, storage guidelines, and prominent warnings.  ”Labels explicitly instruct users to keep naphthalene away from food, water, and children, and to store them safely away from fire due to their flammable nature,” it added. The authority further stressed that naphthalene can be used safely when all label instructions are followed meticulously.

Read the full FDA statement below:


The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) issued a public alert in 2020 regarding the unapproved/off-label use and abuse of products containing Naphthalene to treat COVID-19. The Authority subsequently stated its position on the use of Naphthalene balls in an article published in 2022 on its website cautioning the public of the misuse of such products sold on the Ghanaian market.

The communique cautioned the public against the inappropriate use of these products, such as infusing them in drinking water or ingesting them for medicinal purposes. Recently, social media has highlighted the potential effects of using Naphthalene, including carcinogenic risks (causing cancer) and other health issues.

Several countries have banned products containing Naphthalene due to incorrect labelling of Naphthalene balls as “camphor” and the associated toxicity risks from inhalation and ingestion, especially in children. However, these products remain in use in most countries, provided that the label instructions are followed.

Labelling Requirements

In Ghana, the FDA has registered Naphthalene-containing products for use as insecticides. The FDA wishes to inform the public that labels on registered Naphthalene products in Ghana contain sufficient information on their proper use, warnings, and cautions. These products should not come into contact with children or food, including water, and as a flammable material, should be kept away from fire.

The FDA, in line with the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements for home-use pesticides, has prescribed specific labelling requirements for Naphthalene-containing products. These labels must include directions for use (preventing direct contact with any material) and proper storage instructions. Additionally, caution statements to keep the products away from food, children, and fire, among others, are mandatory on all registered product packages in accordance with regulatory requirements.

What the public should know

The use of Naphthalene will remain safe if the usage instructions are carefully followed. However, misuse of the product contrary to the prescribed instructions could result in adverse effects. Once again, the Authority strongly cautions the public to adhere to the labelling instructions for Naphthalene-containing products and all other chemicals for their health and safety. The FDA will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure the safe and sustained use of Naphthalene products in Ghana.

For further information, please contact the FDA via the contacts below.

Chief Executive Officer
Food and Drugs Authority


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