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'Harmful to human health' — NAFDAC warns against ripening of … – TheCable

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians against the consumption of fruits ripened by calcium carbide.
Mojisola Adeyeye, the director-general of NAFDAC, gave the warning in her keynote address on Thursday at the south-south zone media sensitisation workshop on the dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
Calcium carbide is a greyish-black lump or crystalline chemical substance with a garlic-like odour. It is used to generate acetylene gas, as a reducing agent, and is used in steel manufacturing and metal cutting.
Adeyeye, who was represented by Leonard Omokpariola, director of chemical evaluation and research, said consuming such artificially ripened fruits could result in sleeping disorders, mouth ulcers, skin rashes, kidney problems and cancer.
She said calcium carbide is alkaline in nature and erodes the mucosal tissue in the abdominal region and disrupts intestinal functions.
The director-general said NAFDAC has commenced campaigns in the nooks and crannies of the country to eradicate the menace of using the chemical substance to ripen fruits.
“Consumption of fruits containing these impurities may cause cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure,” NAN Adyeye her as saying.
“They may also cause frequent thirst, irritation in mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, skin ulcer and so on.
“Higher exposure may cause undesired fluid build-up in lungs (pulmonary oedema).
“Acetylene produced by calcium carbide affects the neurological system and reduces oxygen supply to the brain and further induces prolonged hypoxia.
“The impurities are hazardous to pregnant women and children and may lead to headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral oedema (swelling in the brain caused by excessive fluids), sleepiness, and seizure.”
Adeyeye also appealed to Nigerians not to patronise drugs by hawkers.
She said the menace of drug hawking posed a serious challenge to the healthcare delivery system in the country, noting that NAFDAC has resolved to totally eradicate the illicit trade.
“Drug hawkers are also the major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks, including armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and armed robbers,” she said.
“Drug hawkers constitute a serious threat to our national security.”
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