Pesticides Causes Chronic Respiratory Diseases And Neurological Diseases 

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The reckless and inappropriate use of pesticides in food production has raised concerns among experts about public health and food safety. They are advocating for strong policy interventions to tackle this issue effectively.

Experts are highlighting the important role of government intervention in ensuring the implementation of existing regulations, especially in enforcing bans on the widespread sale of dangerous chemicals like Sniper. A recent alarming video circulating on social media depicted a trader using Sniper, an extremely toxic pesticide, to preserve stockfish by directly applying it to the product.

This video has caused anxiety and triggered discussions about the potential health hazards linked to the misuse of such hazardous chemicals. Public health professionals are warning that the high toxicity of pesticides like Sniper can lead to severe health consequences for consumers, ranging from short-term symptoms like nausea and vomiting to more severe long-term implications such as organ damage and even cancer.

Addressing this issue is crucial to protect public health, with experts stressing the immediate need for decisive action to curb this dangerous practice and prevent further endangerment. They are urging for stricter enforcement of regulations governing the sale and usage of pesticides like Sniper to safeguard public health.

Professor Tanimola Akande, a Consultant Public Health Physician at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in Kwara State, has cautioned that individuals who consume food products tainted with harmful chemicals may experience a wide spectrum of symptoms, ranging from respiratory problems to neurological disorders. It is essential to act promptly and effectively to address this issue and ensure the well-being of consumers.

Professor Tanimola Akande, a public health expert, emphasized the crucial need to identify reliable sources for food products to reduce the risk of consuming contaminated items.

He advocated for stronger enforcement measures, increased public awareness campaigns, and education to discourage the use of pesticides in food preservation.

Akande stressed the importance of enhanced surveillance and monitoring by government agencies, such as veterinary services and environmental health officials, to detect and address pesticide contamination cases effectively.

He urged the government to provide these agencies with the necessary resources and tools to carry out their duties successfully.

The don added, “Snipers and other pesticides are hazardous to humans when consumed or when in close contact. It can cause nausea, vomiting, headache excessive salivation and in high doses, can lead to convulsion, respiratory distress, loss of consciousness and death.

“Long-term exposure can lead to chronic respiratory diseases and neurological diseases such as loss of memory, depression and also anxiety.”

On how to identify contaminated food items, he elaborated, “The physical appearance of the skin of such fish will be different from the normal one.

“Fish that is not dead but contaminated with sniper is usually sluggish, lethargic and may rapidly come to the water surface gasping for air. It is important to identify trusted sources or sellers for food products.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to easily identify food products contaminated with pesticides.

“The inspectorate unit of veterinary services and environmental health officials need to do their work diligently and be provided with the necessary tools by the government to do this.

“Individuals should also report suspected cases to the appropriate authorities. Government and other relevant organisations should regularly educate the public through various mass media. Traders and suppliers should take the safety of their customers as a priority.”

Dr. Solomon Olorunfemi, a senior registrar at the Federal Medical Centre in Abeokuta, emphasized the urgent need to address the indiscriminate use of pesticides, which poses significant health risks.

He highlighted the harmful effects of sniper usage, ranging from mild symptoms like nausea and vomiting to severe long-term consequences like organ damage and cancer development.

Olorunfemi stressed the importance of controlling the unregulated use of pesticides and urged stakeholders, including farmers, traders, and suppliers, to prioritize food safety and adopt best practices to minimize risks.

He called for a collaborative effort between government agencies, healthcare professionals, and the public to address pesticide misuse and ensure public health safety. Proactive measures, he emphasized, can help tackle the issue and guarantee the well-being of consumers nationwide.

“It is important to establish that sniper as a chemical was originally designed to control pests, in other words, it is designed for agro-activities. However, farmers and other users, especially food vendors, fish vendors and butchers have gone the other way around to use this to suit their purpose without considering the adverse health effects it can have on the general public.

“There are lots of adverse effects pesticides can have on humans. In the short term, it can result in nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and abdominal pain. Over a long time, it can affect the vital organs in the body like the brain, kidney, liver and even the heart. Cancer could be one of the long-term effects of this unfriendly chemical in the human population.

“I will advise people to stop poisoning or treating water with those adverse chemicals. Those chemicals can destroy aquatic life by using snipers to kill fish. Most of these users are not aware of the dangerous outcome because they believe the act will give them quick results without being aware of the health implications.

“I will advise individuals who know the implications and those who are doing it out of ignorance to please desist from polluting water with chemicals that can immediately provide them with their desires but will in future, cause damage to human health.”

He further warned, “The agriculturist, who uses pesticides for agricultural purposes should also be them with caution such that in the process of application, they should adopt some safety measures, which include the use of personal protective equipment, hand gloves, facemasks, among others.

“All these will prevent skin contamination, respiratory contamination and all. The health risk is wide, starting from skin irritation to other discomfort. It can affect the respiratory system causing cough, and respiratory distress.

“It can also cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. These chemicals can affect the heart and also poison the blood.

“All hands should be on deck; everyone has a role to play. Every stakeholder should be involved in providing measures. At the individual level, people should stop using those chemicals to preserve food products because they are deadly.

“Government should swing into action; agencies, ministry of health, environment and agriculture have to rise and address the issue by raising awareness to combat this.

“It is important that NAFDAC do something. I know that NAFDAC made a policy to prohibit the importation of those chemicals and their like into the country. The use of sniper has been banned from open sale, but it is unfortunate that we still see those chemicals in the supermarket. What is required is that the law that was enacted be enforced. Any law not enforced is lifeless. Follow-up should be done.”

Wakadaily discovered that health experts cautioned traders of food commodities, particularly those selling dried fish, against using insecticides and pesticides to deter flies. They warned that such practices are risky, increasing the potential for health issues and, at worst, could result in immediate harm if consumed excessively.

Citing a surge in cancer and kidney diseases cases in Nigeria, the experts suggested a possible link to consuming food items contaminated with hazardous substances like mycotoxins. They emphasized that prolonged exposure to these chemicals could harm vital organs and negatively impact treatment outcomes for individuals with preexisting health conditions.

In a 2021 article published in the online journal ResearchGate, titled ‘Preservative chemicals as a new health risk related to traditional medicine markets in Western Africa,’The authors stated that Sniper, a type of insecticide, belongs to the organophosphate class and has been prohibited in the European Union due to its harmful properties, and is therefore classified as a dangerous chemical substance.

“highly hazardous” (class IB) by the World Health Organisation.

“Sniper contains Dichlorvos (DDVP), a molecule of acute toxicity if swallowed, inhaled, or in contact with skin, and possibly carcinogenic for humans.

“ With a probable lethal oral dose of 50–500 mg/kg and the estimated half-life of 20–23 days as measured from treated wheat shipments, Sniper represents a serious threat to humans regularly in contact with the molecule”, the authors warned.

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