Residues of drugs

  • E.N.W. Oppong P.O. Box 316, Legon


Everyday activities of humans inevitably generate a lot of pollutants. These activities may be industrial, agricultural, and even such mundane activities as the use of plastic bags. Our concern in this paper is with agricultural activities, specifically a number of livestock production techniques and the dangers they may pose to humans through their consumption of meat, milk, and fish. For drugs, pesticides, insecticides and hormones are variously used in animal production and some of these are passed directly or indirectly into food derived from these animals and fish. Meat and milk may be directly polluted through drugs and hormones administered parenterally, which have not been completely biodegraded before the animal was slaughtered or its milk offered for human consumption. Such drugs may lead to the development of drug resistant strains of micro-organism in humans and the hormones may lead to the development of cancers or malignant effects on unborn children. Acaricides used on animals to rid them of ticks and fleas may contaminate milk. In addition, when improperly disposed of, these acaricides may run into ponds, dams and streams and underground water systems, thus poisoning people who drink them. Some fishermen use acaricides and chemicals in fishing, making such water unsafe for drinking and the poisoned fish dangerous for consumption. Accordingly, in view of such threats to human health and development there is the need for research into the drug, chemical and hormonal content of meat, milk, eggs and fish both locally produced and imported for consumption. The authorities responsible for the safety of the food we eat need urgently to put in place appropriate measures to ensure that we are not being poisoned. Best practice from a number of countries could provide suitable models.

JOURNAL OF THE GHANA SCIENCE ASSOCIATION Volume 2 No. 2 (2000) pp. 148-158

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0855-3823