The Federal Government of Nigeria is making plans to prosecute users of PolyChlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs), popularly known as transformer oil, in frying “Akara” (bean cake), plantain chips, chicken and other food items.
A Consultant to the Federal Ministry of Environment, Professor Babajide Alloy, made the disclosure on Tuesday June 21, 2022 in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of a workshop in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.
According to him, the consumption of food prepared from the chemical substance is exposing the public to cancers of the lungs, heart, kidney and liver diseases.
His words, “For a long time, PCBs was the cooling liquid used in electricity transformers, until the world found out that this oil was toxic, and is trying to phase it out. Jail term, therefore, awaits those caught using PCBs to fry Akara, chicken and plantain chips at roadside to sell to the public because the oil is toxic and carcinogenic.”
He stressed that “We found out that it is all over the place in Nigeria, dump sites, and in old National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) compounds.”
Alloy said a survey carried out by the ministry revealed that the oil was currently being used in making food like Akara, amongst others.
The consultant added that the unsuspecting public were being deceived by the likeness of the oil to the commonly used groundnut oil, while saying that “Some food vendors now mix PCBs with groundnut oil to fry Akara and sell to the general public.
The workshop was organised for state councils, regulatory bodies, power operators and customs officers on application of PCBs regulations and guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of PCBs.