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Thursday's papers: Pizza oven boom, mosquito repellent, week-long heatwave

The press reports on some interesting summer purchases as Finland prepares to bask in temperatures of 30C.

Ihmisiä uimarannalla vastavaloon.
Temperatures during Midsummer week are set to be up to 6 degrees warmer than normal. Image: Jani Saikko / Yle

Tabloid Iltalehti writes that the domestic tourism boom, or mökkibuumi, this summer has led to customers emptying shelves of some very predictable, and also quite unexpected, products.

K-Rauta manager Olli Pere tells IL that the retail chain has seen an 800 percent increase in the sales of pizza ovens, while Verkkokauppa's commercial director Vesa Järveläinen says hot tubs are selling like, well, hot buns.

"The products that have surprised us, even though we thought we were well prepared, are swimming pools, outdoor hot tubs and water toys, such as water trampolines. They are all sold out at this point," Järveläinen told IL.

The retailers have also noticed a "diversification" in the type of foods people in Finland are choosing to grill, with sales of vegetarian sausages up 300 percent, and vegetables for grilling such as potatoes, cabbage and asparagus also proving very popular.

But among all these new trends, there are the old summer staples too. All chains report increased sales of mosquito repellents, as Finland's traditional mosquito-killing season of Midsummer draws nearer. Verkkokauppa's stock of high-end repellents, priced at over 1,000 euros each, have even sold out.

"The mosquito repellent season is about 4-6 weeks, and there are no more sales after Midsummer," Järveläinen said. "I bet that this summer all stores have underestimated sales."

Use chemicals as "last resort"

And staying with the topic of mosquito repellent, Helsingin Sanomat reports on escalating confusion over where and how a popular vapour-based product should be used, if at all.

The Thermacell mosquito repellent vapour is marketed as being "excellent" for use on camping trips and hiking, but HS writes that the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) does not recommend using the vapour in the forest due to uncertainty over its environmental impact.

The Thermacell vaporiser contains prallethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide that is also currently being tested and investigated at the EU level.

Tukes inspector Elina Rydman told HS that the chemical's risk assessment to humans has been assessed and proven to be safe, in accordance with national legislation, but no environmental assessment has yet been made.

"After all, it is a chemical that is very toxic to aquatic organisms, for example. Previous calculation models have not been able to study exactly how the vaporised chemicals affect the environment. Therefore, the device should not be taken into nature, such as for a forest or a fishing trip," Rydman said, adding that the agency recommends people use non-chemical mosquito repellents as much as possible.

"At Tukes, we outline that biocidal products should be a last resort," Rydman said. "Biocides are basically dangerous chemicals, so they shouldn't be used for fun but only if you absolutely have to."

Here comes the sun

Helsinki tabloid Ilta-Sanomat writes that Thursday will see the beginning of a week-long heatwave, warning readers to be prepared to "sweat for a while."

A heady mix of high pressure, warm air flows and a cloudless sky could see the mercury hit 30 degrees Celsius in southern and central parts of Finland over the weekend, IS reports.

And it doesn't end there. Foreca's on-duty meteorologist Anna Latvala tells the tabloid that the average temperature during Midsummer week will be between 4 and 6 degrees warmer than the seasonal average, although she adds that Midsummer itself will be cooler.

IS also writes that Finland's longest continuous heatwave, when temperatures were above 25 degrees Celsius for successive days, was recorded in July and August 2014 when weather stations in Helsinki and Kouvola exceeded that threshold for 26 days in a row.

Alas, there are no such long-term prospects this year, as Latvala tells IS that thunderstorms are coming, and the weather is likely to be more unsettled after that.

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