Acute Atrazine Food Poisoning in Shaibupe: A Farming Community in Northern Ghana
Edmund Der, Juventus B Ziem, Ken Sagoe, Richard K Gyasi and Jehoran T Anim
World Journal of Medical and Surgical Case Reports 2013, 2:20
Atrazine is a restricted selective herbicide in most developed countries, but still finds its way into Ghana. Oral ingestion of large doses is associated with death. Published autopsy data on atrazine related food poisoning is scanty. We present seven cases of acute atrazine poisoning involving two girls (aged 2 and7 years), 3 boys (aged 2, 5 and 6 years), and two adults, man and woman(aged 34 and 45 years respectively), in a farming community in northern Ghana.
Seven of the 8 members of one family were reported to have died following consumption of cooked beans. Autopsy was performed on all seven bodies. At autopsy the liver, stomach contents and blood from the seven victims, together with cooked and uncooked beans from the scene were sent for toxicological analysis at the Forensic Science Department of the Ghana Standards Authority. Atrazine was detected in significant quantities in the uncooked and cooked beans, the stomach contents, blood and liver samples from each of the victims.
Our findings may be the tip of an” iceberg” of deaths following contamination of food with chemicals in farming communities in Ghana. There is the need to raise awareness of this danger for the appropriate institution to enforce laws regulation the importation and use of agrochemicals in Ghana. There is also the need for continuous education of farmers about the safe handling, hazards and effects of agrochemicals.
Autopsy, Herbicides, Atrazine, Food-poisoning.