Toxic chemicals lace fruits, vegetables

Health experts say use of chemicals for ripening, preserving perishables hazardous

APP October 31, 2017
Health experts say use of chemicals for ripening, preserving perishables hazardous. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Health experts have warned that chemicals used for ripening and preserving fruits and vegetables by shopkeepers are extremely hazardous for human health.

Commonly used calcium carbide and other chemicals for these purposes have harmful effects on human body as it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus.

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“Use of such chemicals are banned in many countries of the world however fruit sellers here are putting lives of people at risk through using these chemicals to increase the life of perishable commodities,” said Dr Ahsan Akram, nutritionist at a government hospital.

He said the sellers are deliberately contaminating fruits and vegetables through use of chemicals and causing serious health hazards. Toxic chemicals are being used wantonly to grow, ripen and make fruits appear fresh or increase their shelf life.

The orchard owners use different types of hormone, pesticide, fungicide and sulphur in fruit trees, including mangoes, banana and other fruits to boost production while playing havoc with the lives of people for just making profit.

Dr Tasneem Athar, a physician at a local hospital, said these chemicals can cause several diseases like cancer, kidney and lung ailments.

She said it is the duty of the authorities to stop sale of unhealthy eatables. People need healthy diet to create a healthy generation, she said. They must keep vigilance over the fruit and vegetable sellers using such injurious chemicals.

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“Milk, yoghurt and other eatables being sold in the markets are already not pure. If fruits and vegetables too become unsafe for the human consumption, what would we eat?” Samina Chaudhry, a working woman said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2017.

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