The Federal Government of Nigeria has cautioned citizens against some food vendors discovered to be using transformer oil to fry foods for sale to the public.
Mr Babajide Alloy, a consultant with the Federal Ministry of Environment, said on Tuesday 21 June22 that some food vendors are using polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), also known as Transformer Oil, which is used in electrical equipment, to fry “akara” (bean cake), chicken, plantain chips, and other fried foods.
He said such consumption is dangerous because it exposes the public to cancers of the lungs, heart, and kidney, and also liver disease. He said the Federal Government is working towards prosecuting those who use PCBs for cooking.
According to Mr Alloy:
“For a long time, PCBs was the cooling liquid used in electricity transformers, until the world found out the oil was toxic, and is now trying to phase it out.
“Jail terms await those caught using PCBs to fry akara, chicken and plantain chips at the roadside to sell to the public because the oil is toxic and carcinogenic.
“We found out that it is all over the place in Nigeria, at dump sites and old National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) compounds. Some food vendors now mix the PCBs with groundnut oil to fry akara and sell to the general public.”
WHAT ARE PCBs?
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are highly carcinogenic chemical compounds formerly used in industrial and consumer products, whose production was banned by United States federal law in 1978, and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.
They are organic chlorine compounds having the formula C12H10−xClx. They were previously widely used in manufacture of carbonless copy paper, as heat transfer fluids, and as dielectric and coolant fluids for electrical equipment such as transformers.