NIGERIA – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned the public on the risk involved in using of Aluminum Phosphide 560TB pesticide.

The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Moji Adeyeye said the warning followed the report of the death of three (3) children as announced by the Zimbabwean authorities in December 2021.

The death of the children was as a result of them inhaling the pesticides that had been applied to maize for storage.

Aluminum Phosphide (AlP) is a cheap, effective and commonly used pesticide. It is used as a rodenticides, insecticide and fumigant for stored cereal grains to kill small verminous mammals such as moles and rodents.

Adeyeye revealed that the pesticides is currently one of the most common causes of poisoning among agricultural pesticides, and it frees lethal phosphine gas when it comes in contact either with atmospheric moisture or with hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

According to her, the pesticides come in different brand names such as Justoxin, Force Toxin, Phostoxin, Celphos, Multiphos and many more.

“The possible risk of this liquid chemical to the body is that human toxicity occurs either due to the ingestion of AlP (commonest mode) after exposure and injury from phosphine inhalation (uncommon) or even after absorption through the skin (rare),” she said.

The signs and symptoms are nonspecific, instantaneous and depend on the dose, route of entry and time lapse since exposure to poison. Patients commonly exhibit airway irritation and breathlessness after inhalation exposure.

Other features may include dizziness, easy fatigability, tightness in the chest, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia, numbness, paraesthesia, tremor, muscle weakness, diplopia and jaundice.

In severe inhalation toxicity, the patient may develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), cardiac failure, cardiac arrhythmias, convulsion and coma, and late manifestation of hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity may also occur.

“NAFDAC implores distributors, retailers, and consumers to exercise caution in the storage, ensure safe and proper handling of the chemical product,’’ Adeyeye said.

The Director-General also advised members of the public to always read warning labels before purchase, according to The Eagle Online.

“Carefully follow label instruction for proper handling, proper application and proper storage. Ensure use of protective measures when handling pesticides such as wearing impermeable gloves, long pants, and long-sleeve, nose mask and safety glasses,” she said.

Infant formula contamination

NAFDAC has also raised an alarm over a contaminated infant formula linked to foodborne illness in the United States.

The manufacturers of the infant formula, Abbott, informed that they detected the presence of Cronobacter Sakazakii and Salmonella newport bacteria in some of their product hence was recalling the affected lot.

The recall affects certain lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare with expiration dates of April 1, 2022, or later. The product was distributed throughout the U.S. and overseas, the company said in a statement.

According to Adeyeye, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is investigating whether three infant illnesses reported recently in the United Kingdom are connected to the recalled infant formula.

“Please note that Abbott’s Similac infant formulas registered by NAFDAC are manufactured in South Africa and Republic of Ireland, while the infant formulas were manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan-America,” she said.

Cronobacter bacteria can cause sepsis or meningitis, which can be severe and life-threatening illnesses, according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths and abnormal movements.

Salmonella on the other hand can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Severe cases of salmonellosis can cause a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, rashes and blood in urine or stool. It can become fatal.

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