Fruits are healthy food choices but not when laced with toxic chemicals used for ripening. A new study published in Cogent – food and agriculture journal on May 23 reveals that chemicals used in Bangladesh for artificial ripening of fruits contain a high amount of heavy metals and other substances, which may pose serious health hazards.
Researchers from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), tested chemicals used in fruits popularly peddled, including calciumcarbide – found to contain sulphur, iron, silicon, magnesium, aluminium, zinc, arsenic and phosphorus; ethephon, kerosene, formalin and ethylene glycol. The concentration levels of the chemicals are also above the permitted safe levels. The sulphur found in the samples has concentration level between 638,300ppm and 570,000ppm – far above the toxic threshold of 600ppm. Some of the serious health conditions that may result from ingestion of these chemicals include acute renal failure, skin damage, pulmonary injuries, diarrhoea, anaemia, lung failure, foetal deformation, and the like.
The Bangladesh Pure Food Ordinance 2005 bans toxic chemicals or ingredients such as calcium carbide, formalin or patricides from being used in food.
BUET chemical engineering assistant professor Mohidus Samad Khan, who co-authored the study said that the study is an eye-opener. “We take the opportunity to make a noise about risks involved in chemically ripened fruits in the country so that policymakers can make the right intervention, “ he said.
Category: Features, Health alert