Food and Nutrition:
packed food has been a trend in this fast paced culture, Somehow civilisation seems to be posing a serious threat to healthy leaving. Yes, modernisation has made us cut down trees, made us ignore the integrated science we were taught in schools – that green life is the best life.
Our mothers made tasty moi-moi wrapped in leaves but modernisation has made the now generation turn to nylon (less clumsy and easy to dispose) and plastic containers (such as used by eateries to serve salad – easy to clean). Besides, leaves are not easy to come by these days, and they are not easy to preserve either.
But researches carried out in recent years have shown that heated or steamed nylon and plastic containers can be carcinogenic.
According to Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, cellophane bags contain a large dosage of dioxins which are harmful to health.
Dr. Edward Fujimot, Wellness Programme Manager at Castle Hospital, explains this health hazard. He says dioxins are bad for us, especially to foods that contain fat.
According to him, the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics release dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body.
Dioxins are environmental pollutants; they belong to the so-called “dirty dozen” – a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Dioxins are of concern because of their highly toxic potential.
Once dioxins enter the body, they last a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue where they are then stored in the body.
The toxicity levels of dioxins experts say can cause reproductive and developmental problems including damage to the immune system, cancer, as well as interference with hormones.
The EPA report confirmed that dioxin is a cancer hazard to people. In 1997, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a research into dioxins and announced on February 14, 1997, that the most potent dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, is now considered a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that it is a known human carcinogen.
Also, in January 2001, the U.S. National Toxicology Programme upgraded 2,3,7,8-TCDD from “Reasonably Anticipated to be a Human Carcinogen” to “Known to be a Human Carcinogen. Finally, a 2003 re-analysis of the cancer risk from dioxin reaffirmed that there is no known “safe dose” or “threshold” below which dioxin will not cause cancer.
A July 2002 study shows dioxin to be related to increased incidence of breast cancer.
In addition to cancer, exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems (at levels 100 times lower than those associated with its cancer causing effects). Dioxin is well-known for its ability to damage the immune system and interfere with hormonal systems.
Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more.
Doxins could be found in heated cellophane bags, Micro wave ovens, ‘pure’ water in sachets or plastic rubbers exposed to the sun at over 28 degrees Celsius,
- Do not heat food in microwaves using plastic containers
- Use glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food.
- Leaves do not contain such poisonous substances, and in fact is the best option you have for your good old moi-moi or bean pudding. Use leaves to cook whatever you would have used nylon for if you can help it.
What you should know is this: the cancer you see today had started way back in time before we realised what was going on.