Reps summon Minister of Health and others over plastic packaging of food and drinks

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The House of Representatives has summoned Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health and Yetunde Oni, the Acting Director-General of NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control) to appear before it.

This summon is in order for the duo to give an explanation on the effect of plastic containers for the packaging of food and drinks.

The summon was due to the motion moved by Hon. Sergius Ogun on the need to regulate the use of Bisphenol “A” plastics in the production of bottled water.

Ogun in his debate noted the growing concern over the effects of drinking water in plastic containers that had been left under the sun or near a heat source, which had been linked to degenerative diseases.

He said he was aware that plastics are hydrocarbons that are obtained from crude oil, which when heated, become unstable and slowly releases chemicals that mix up with the food or water. He also noted that most plastics contain Bisphenol “A” which is also known as “environmental oestrogen” which causes reproductive defects as well as neurological abnormalities and prostrate issues.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the production of bottled water is unregulated and as a result, the use of BPA plastics which are by far cheaper than non-BPA plastics is commonplace and generally used by companies producing water.

Lawmakers collectively called for the sensitization of the public on the health hazard of using plastic to package food and drinks. Hon. Oghene Egoh stressed the need to educate the public on this. “It will be big victory for health”, he noted.

Rotimi Agunsoye also warned that Bisphenol “A” was very harmful to the body. “It is important that we inform NAFDAC and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to educate and sensitize the public on the health hazard of the use of plastic to package food and drinks”, Agunsoye added.

The motion was referred to the House Committee on Healthcare services for further legislative action.

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Joan Obasi is a journalism intern working with HealthNewsNG.com in Lagos, Nigeria. She covers developments in the healthcare sector. She can be reached via joan@healthnewsng.com

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