‘Bananas ripened with calcium carbide lower fertility’

EXPERTS have cautioned fruit sellers against using calcium carbide, a material most commonly used for welding purposes, as artficial agents in fruits because of consumption of such fruits can negatively affect the female reproductive organ.

In a new study, researchers said consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide negatively alters the female reproductive physiology, accelerates puberty onset and increases serum oestrogen levels.

The study, which investigated the outcome of ingestion of calcium carbide-ripened fruit on some female reproductive parameters said that consumption of calcium carbide-ripened fruits causes a disruption in the female reproductive system.

The researchers had compared a group of female mice close to reaching puberty that was fed unripe mature bananas ripened with calcium carbide (CCRB) with another fed with  ripened via non-artificial means over a three-day period.

For the study, food intake, body weights, vaginal openings and cytology were analysed. Samples of blood, uteri, ovaries and cervices were additionally collected and analysed.

The assessment showed increased numbers of cells in the womb wall, presence of secondary follicles and regressing corpus lutea as well as thickening of the mouth of the womb which is an evidence of a disruption in production of oestrogen.

Oestrogen is the female sex hormone that accounts for female characteristics such as breasts, pubic hair and menstrual cycle. The ovaries are the main source of oestrogen from the body.

The corpus luteum is essential for establishing and maintaining pregnancy in females. A secondary ovarian follicle is a maturing ovarian follicle and is found in the ovaries. The follicles release an egg monthly.

The researchers stated in the journal, Heliyon, that caution must therefore be exercised by fruit sellers in the use of calcium carbide and policies set in place for strict regulation of its use worldwide.

The use of calcium carbide in the fruit industry is being discouraged worldwide due to the dangers of explosion and carryover of toxic materials like arsenic and phosphorus to consumers. It is known to cause cancer, food poisoning, irritation of the intestine wall and mouth ulcers, among other things.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had warned the public against consuming fruits ripened with calcium carbide, saying such fruits cause heart, kidney and liver failures when eaten.

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