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Formalin and the fish we eat

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Geza Ulole, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    Joined: Oct 31, 2009
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    Never Eat Fish
    Published on: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 8:21pm

    The Express Reporter

    Three weeks after we revealed how crooks use formalin to store fish, health experts have revealed the horrible extent to which the highly toxic chemical damages the human body.
    The most popular use of formalin is for embalming dead bodies at the mortuaries. A shot of 50ml to 200ml is enough to preserve a dead body at least for a short period. The standard dose, however for fixing the body of an adult is 500ml to 1000mls, that is half a liter to a liter.
    Formalin is the aqueous solution of Formaldehyde, a highly toxic chemical compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, which can be obtained from its cyclic trimer trioxane and the polymer paraformaldehyde.
    A 100 per cent formalin solution consists of a saturated solution of formaldehyde (this is about 40% by volume or 37% by mass) in water, with a small amount of stabiliser, usually methanol to limit oxidation and polymerisation.
    The medical experts say formalin can causes disorders in the oral cavity, the gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidney, lung, heart, and the central nervous system in the early phase of reaction.
    Three weeks ago we exposed how fishermen have borrowed a leaf from mortuary attendants, using formalin to store fish in Dar es Salaam, Lindi and Coast regions.
    Consumers in the regions though are unaware of the deadly practice behind storage of the fresh fish they buy, and fish consumption continues uninterrupted.
    So far, neither the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) nor any government institution has been able to crack down on the crooks’ networks.
    The investigation made by The Express detected that the fishermen go to formalin, which they believed to be the most powerful chemical which can be used to preserve fish at smaller doses.
    Medical doctors have told The Express that Formalin is very dangerous not only when ingested through contaminated food of any kind, but even inhaling its nevertheless strong smell can cause effect to human body because it is poison in the most concentrated form.
    One of the doctors - whose name is withheld for security reasons - said ingestion of formalin could lead to peritonitis because of gastric wall inflammation. Cicatrical stricture of the stomach tends to be a major problem in the late phase of formalin ingestion.
    According to him formalin is irritating, corrosive and toxic and absorbed from all surfaces of the body. Ingestion is rare because of alarming odour and irritant effect but has been documented in accidental, homicidal or suicidal attempts.
    Ingestion of the poison can lead to immediate deleterious effects on almost all systems of the body including gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, cardiovascular system and hepato-renal system, causing gastrointestinal hemorrhage, cardiovascular collapse, unconsciousness or convulsions, severe metabolic acidosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
    No specific antidote is available so far to treat formalin poisoning. Treatment of toxicity is supportive care of the various organ systems. Multidisciplinary approach is required for proper management.
    Formalin is a commonly used fixative for tissue specimens in pathology laboratories. Moreover, archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens provide a principal source of human tissues for diagnostic and retrospective research studies.
    “It is unbelievable for this poison to be used in storing of the fish because this is completely poison and when it enters the human body in large content no living cell at the body can survive, and even if it is diluted for any amount of water it is still harmful to human body or any living organism,” said one of the doctors
    He added that when formalin applied to any living organism body mostly for dead body will remain the same with neither chemical nor physical change, therefore the body will remain for a long period of time with no decomposition.
    If this chemical is applied to the fish as one of the storage method, is a kind of killing of the people regardless how concentrated the chemical is diluted because it is still contain poison, another doctor noted.
    During the investigation The Express was told by one of the crooks that they use the chemical to avoid normal storage using ice, because ice takes up a lot of space, hence entailing a fall-off in profits.
    But note the doctors, this argument is not valid, because the effects of such poison taken in small quantities would be gradual, not sudden.
    However the some crooks tried to explained to The Express how they use the such poison during the storage that mostly the users are directed to use one cupful of the chemical diluted in a ten-litre bucketful of water, which is used to store about three hundred kilos of fish, and where the fish can stay for at least three to four days as fresh without decomposing.
    These chemicals is organized starting from the Ferry and the Fish Market, with a big depot at Kigamboni in the area commonly known as Minazi Kinda, or by local inhabitants called Mikinda or sometimes ‘Kwa Wapemba’
    Dealers are working so secretly with bodyguards around so that no passers-by perceive what’s going on, then when the fish is sent to the market it has to be washed and soaked in water for one or two hours at least before being displayed to buyers.
    The investigation by The Express also detected that there are so many branches of the dealers particularly in the areas of Kilwa and Mafia. According to one of the crooks, when the chemicals become so scarce in Dar es Salaam, they used to purchase it from Mafia or Kilwa.
    “Actual we are getting it easily in Dar es Salaam,” the crook said, completely at ease and confident.
    The Express investigations have made it clear that most fish for the consumer in different areas around Lindi, Dar es Salaam and Coast region is kept in storage using formalin and other poisonous chemicals concocted locally.
    Local chemical substances used to keep the catch fresh are made of mixtures from different poisonous shrubs, and they are not treated scientifically so as to be edible, still less suitable for human beings.
    World wide, countries are working to restrict or ban the use of formalin, in view of its widespread use, toxicity, and volatility. The annual world production of formaldehyde was put at 21 million tonnes (46 billion pounds) in 2005.
    Exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health and the health aspects of the poison are well-documented. To date there have been numerous incidences food contamination with the chemical in various parts of the world, which led to food scares.
    The 2005 Indonesia food scare was a food scare in 2005 in Jakarta, Indonesia, when the government found that 60 per cent of noodle shops in the capital had been serving noodles laced with formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
    In 2007, Vietnam was hit by yet another food scandal – including noodles and the national dish , Pho - was found to be contaminated with formaldehyde.
    Said one of the medical doctors : “ If people ingest formalin even in small quantities it is still harmful, because once it contacts the body cells, it kills the cells. That it why formalin is used in embalming, because once it encounters the cells it stops any chemical or physical changes.”
  2. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    Joined: Oct 31, 2009
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    Siwezi shangaa sana kama umeme ni adimu kama chozi la mamba, wacha tulishwe formalin! Hii ndo Kasi Mpya na Ari Mpya! Nyumba isiyozidi million 300 gharama yake ni bilion 1.4, magenerata ya kuzalisha umeme yaliyotumika gharama yake ni zaidi ya mapya, na yale yanayotakiwa kubadilishwa kutumia gasi wakuu wanakataa maana watakosa 30% in US$ 12 million every month for oil procurement! Na jiulize nani wenye tender za kuleta mafuta? Ni walewale wakina Dowans na wengineo leo CCM imepewa magari mapya bure lakini waliotoa wanajua wana-recover vp! Mungu mlaani RA! Umpe kishipa tu! ashindwe tembea!