By Shannon Gwamna
The Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), has trained environmental health officers on prevention and control of mycotoxins in food and environment.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja, at a two-day workshop on the prevention and control of mycotoxins in food and environment, organised by the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON),the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, said 25 per cent of diseases in Nigeria are caused by mycotoxins.
Ikeazor said the workshop was necessary because there are increase adverse health effect of mycotoxins on occupants of residential, offices, schools, agriculture and non agricultural setting including food and products in Nigeria.
“Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi). They can grow on foodstuffs such as; cereals, nuts spices, offices and posed a great risk to human health.
“We must all be worried about the risk of environmental exposures experienced by those that consume or are exposed to food and food products that are contaminated with mycotoxins.
“ The ingestion of mycotoxin through food and inhalation of mycotoxins and other contamits in the air might result in lung damage, allergic reactions such as irritation in the respiratory tract, eyes, skin, headaches.
“Exposure to all these contamits could have harmful effects on vital organs and consequently on the overall human health and productivity.
“The lack of knowledge by the public and private institutions about these moulds and the effect of the metabolites they produce is a great concern”.
She urged environmental health officers to educate people on the negative effects of moulds and mycotoxins contamination in their environment.
The minister charged participants at the workshop to exchange ideas and come up with skills to monitor and detect safety risks associated with exposure to mycotoxin contamination and measure to contain it.
Also, speaking the EHORECON Registrar,Dr.Yakubu Baba, explained that mycotoxin was a public health responsibility accounting for about 25 per cent of diseases in the country.
Baba said the council was preparing its practitioners to be sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to effectively enlighten the public on the negative effects of mycotoxins in food and the environment.
“This will have value addition to service delivery as it will enhance our economy, tailored towards President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of food security.
“It will also provide platforms where the youths are going to be engaged and take them out of poverty. So, it also has security solutions.”