Medical expert raises alarm over use of toxic chemicals during cassava processing in Bayelsa

Yenagoa—A healthcare professional, Dr. Inenyo Esinte, has raised alarm over the use of bleaching agents and other bio-toxic chemicals in cassava processing in Bayelsa State.

Esinte stated there have been confirmed reports of the use of bleaching agents (Sodium Hypochlorite + Sodium Hydroxide) and other bio-toxic chemicals such as Sniper (insecticide) and detergents in processing cassava to bleach, whiten, enhance fermentation and increase the yield.

In a statement on Monday, Esinte averred that the use of such chemicals is harmful and not meant for human and animal consumption.

He stated that their use poses a great danger with associated diverse health risks to consumers, rich and poor alike.

Esinte who is the Secretary, of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (A.P.H.P.N), Bayelsa State, posited that farmers and cassava processors, who use these harmful chemicals in cassava processing are probably not aware of their harmful health effects, but are only interested in increasing and maximizing output and profit.

“Members of households, in some cases, are reportedly hospitalized and in severe cases die, following consumption of some by-products of cassava such as fufu from cassava reportedly processed with toxic chemicals to increase output.

“This is a public health emergency that requires urgent public health response to safeguard public safety,” he said.

He called on government, NGOs, traditional institutions, community-based youth and women groups, market women, and cassava products merchants to take proactive measures in educating the public, especially farmers on the harmful effects of bleaching agents and other toxic chemicals for cassava processing.

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