Following the widespread application of agrochemicals such as Dichlorvos (2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate (DDVP) popularly known as Sniper on beans, as a pest control , the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned on the dangers of such chemicals to the human body.
The NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye gave the warning at the weekend through a press statement from her office, noting the health implications of such dangerous practice to include severe health conditions such as skin irritation, blindness, seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea, cancer and at high concentrations, convulsions, coma and even death.
The NAFDAC boss who urged consumers to desist from buying beans with traces of agrochemicals, stated:”When you notice your grains/beans have traces of agrochemical, please do not buy or eat it”.
She however assured the general public of the agency’s effort in addressing the situation, while she advised them to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the nearest NAFDAC office.
“Protect your family from consuming beans contaminated with sniper and other agrochemicals. Wash your grains in several rinses of water before cooking: it is safer than just cooking without washing”, she cautioned.
The document reads in part: “The agrochemical should be properly applied with caution and good understanding, such that they do not come into direct contact with the agricultural commodity. This is to prevent contamination of such food products, which could constitute danger to public health. To avoid skin exposure, wear overalls made of tight fabric or polyvinyl chloride, gloves, rubber boots (some forms of rubber are attacked by dichlorvos), and a face shield or splash-proof goggles.
“To avoid inhalation wear a full facemask supplied-air respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus. Clothing that becomes contaminated with dichlorvos should be promptly removed and any contaminated skin immediately washed with soap and water. Protect from exposure persons under 18 years of age, expectant or nursing mothers, alcoholics, or those having diseases of the CNS, respiratory system, liver, kidney, or eyes”.
Prof. Adeyeye also noted that the agency is working closely with all relevant stakeholders including Croplife Nigeria to intensify this awareness campaign, as well as nationwide sensitisation of farmers and grain merchants on the health implications of wrong application of these agrochemicals.
It will be recalled that the news on sniper-treated beans went viral last Friday on social media, with videos of retailers sprinkling sniper on beans as a preservative method against weevils.