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Experts warn against poisonous calabash chalk

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By Abraham Adekunle

They revealed that it contains heavy metals harmful to the body.

Medical experts have cautioned Nigerians, especially pregnant women, against ingesting calabash chalk, popularly known as “ndom” in Efik/Ibibio; “eko” in Bini/Edo languages and “nzu” in Igbo. They stress that it contains lead and other heavy metals that can be harmful to the body. They also warned that the heavy metals in the chalk can cause a range of health problems for pregnant women, which include anemia, nervous and kidney damage and gastric ulcers, among other debilitating medical conditions.

According to WebMD, pregnant women in Nigeria and other parts of Africa use this type of clay to manage morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and skincare. Contrary to popular assumptions, a public health physician and a maternal health expert have described them as false. They noted that there is no scientific evidence to support such acts. Instead, they said that calabash chalk is not a remedy for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy but would rather lead to low levels of potassium and iron in the body as it contains excess lead.

Long-term geophagia can cause dangerous sicknesses.

Likewise, a professor of public health at the University of Ilorin in Kwara State, Tanimola Akande, stressed that persistent consumption of lead can damage the kidney and also affect the nervous system. This is known as geophagia. Geophagia is the practice of eating the earth, including soil and chalk. This ancient practice can be associated with religious beliefs, medication or as part of a regular diet. Little wonder that the former national chairman of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria stressed that calabash chalk is from the soil and has heavy metals like lead and arsenic, which are dangerous to the body when taken in high doses especially for pregnant women.

He noted that large dose consumption of this material can lower femur bone density by reducing its minerals. In his words, some people, especially pregnant women, eat it as medicine and risk dangerous consequences as it contains heavy metals like arsenic and lead. “If taken in large doses or over a long period, it can cause gastric ulcers, affect blood cells, and lead to anemia,” he said. As well, the material also has an effect on the unborn baby and may lead to health problems in newborns and infants.

More effects of ingesting the chalk into the body.

Similarly, an obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Akinsola Akinde, who is a former chairman of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, stressed that the assumption that calabash chalk helps relieve symptoms of early morning sickness in pregnancy is doubtful. She said that lead found in calabash chalk has been discovered to be neurotoxic, especially to a developing baby. It can cause low potassium and iron, muscle weakness, nerve damage, inflamed stomach, poisoning, and low blood level. She said that its consumption in pregnancy should be discouraged as much as possible.

Mayo Clinic, an online health portal, also states that lead poisoning occurs when it builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems and children younger than six years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, it can be fatal, causing irreversible damage to the brain and impeding development. “Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults and may cause seizures, unconsciousness and death,” it stated.

Risk of inflammatory markers and kidney disease.

Meanwhile, a study titled, “Effects of calabash chalk consumption on kidney function of traders in southeast Nigeria” found that the long-term use of the chalk was associated with kidney damage. In the over 200 people studied, those who consume it regularly had higher levels of certain enzymes in their blood that are associated with kidney damage. The study also found that these people had higher levels of certain inflammatory markers in their blood. Inflammation is an important indicator of overall health, and high levels of inflammation have been linked to various chronic diseases.


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Admin
6 months ago

Experts warn against poisonous calabash chalkThey revealed that it contains heavy metals harmful to the body.  – Express your point of view.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
Member
6 months ago

It’s important to take seriously the warnings from experts about the dangers of calabash chalk. It’s alarming to learn that this traditional product contains heavy metals that can be harmful to our health. We should all be mindful of the substances we consume and prioritize our safety and well-being. It’s important to educate ourselves on the risks of using traditional products and to be cautious when consuming them. We should also encourage others to do the same. If we all work together to raise awareness about these issues, we can help protect ourselves and our communities from the harmful effects of calabash chalk and other similar products.

Haykaylyon26
Member
6 months ago

It will be good if we listen to the expert warning and be careful with the calabash chalk because that it contains heavy metals harmful to the body so we should be extra careful with it

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
Member
6 months ago

We can safeguard ourselves and our communities from the negative consequences of calabash chalk consumption by working together to raise knowledge of these issues and place a higher priority on our safety and wellbeing. We must inform ourselves of the dangers associated with traditional items and exercise caution when when using them

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
Member
6 months ago

We should heed the advice of the experts and exercise caution when using calabash chalk since it contains toxic heavy metals that should be avoided at all costs.

Abusi
Abusi
Member
6 months ago

Pregnant women should desist from the usage of this calabash chalk. O don’t know it’s importance or the benefit it has on people. Still, they should stop it usage, seeing that it can affect their health.

SarahDiv
Member
6 months ago

Cultural beliefs, lack of awareness, and limited access to healthcare are responsible to the health threat posed by such consumption. Health education, accessible healthcare, regulation, alternative remedies, and research should be employed to tackle it.