A three-year research study that began in 2016, has discovered high levels of fluoride in chicken found in the Rift Valley, the Daily Nation reported on Wednesday, September 11.
The study dubbed the Flowered Project, set out to find a solution to fluoride contamination in water, soils and food in the Rift Valley countries, namely Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Research results revealed that consuming a quarter chicken from these areas exposes one to fluoride levels as high as 14 milligrams, which is more than seven times the allowable daily intake for humans.
According to the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), an organization that campaigns against the use of added fluoride, excessive consumption of this particular chemical is linked to several health problems, such as thyroid dysfunction, weakening of joints & bones, neurological problems (with unborn children at a higher risk) and bone cancer.
The European Union-funded study focused heavily on Nakuru County, where the negative effects of fluoride were allegedly felt most.
One of the researchers Dr Enos Wambu from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the University of Eldoret, affirmed the findings going on to reveal that they focused mainly on poultry.
They collected chicken feathers from representative poultry farms from Nakuru, which they analysed for fluoride content.
"A large percentage of poultry water from Nakuru East, Nakuru West, and Naivasha sub-counties, which are in close proximity, contained levels above World Health Organisation (WHO) allowable standards of 1.5 ppm (milligrams per kilogram),” he announced.
“A typical quarter of a chicken is about 375 grams and if it is assumed that the fluoride content in the feathers is equivalent to the average of the concentrations in bones and meat, a serving of quarter in a meal exposes the consumer to between about 1.0 mg of fluoride to 14.1 mg of fluoride with an average of 4.5 mg of fluoride per meal. This will exceed recorded average total fluoride intake of 2.2 mg per day,” Dr Wambu added.
In a similar study carried out at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, results stated that the rate of aflatoxin-contaminated food, especially in maize and milk, has been on a rapid increase in Kenya.
In addition,the researchers also disclosed that the high fluoride content in the study area also has negative implications on the productivity of the affected livestock, their production costs and on the food safety and contribution to food security situations.
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