Monday, November 5, 2012

By Staff Writer
Recent reports say local farmers in Arusha, Manyara and surrounding regions  are  using uranium dust  to preserve their farm crops against pests and diseases, posing dangers to themselves and the entire public. 

Consumers who eat the maize, beans and other farm produce preserved  this way are under serious threats of cancer and other diseases.

Njiro-based Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAECA) has confirmed this deadly development and taken the opportunity to warn the public, especially gullible farmers, against the misuse of the dangerous chemicals.

 Speaking in Arusha this week, the Director General of TAEC Prof Idd Mkilaha said of late there have been dealers who are importing uranium dust  from neighboring countries, selling the chemicals to farmers and fooling them that uranium dust was the best solution against seed diseases as well as decay, crop attacking pests and insects.

 Some farmers are reported  to have found officially approved pesticides and herbicides being rather ineffective to control insects and crop infections. Thus they are buying uranium dust in large amounts and using the poison  to store seeds, grain and legumes in their silos. 

Prof Mkilaha explained that already TAEC has managed to identify some of the business people who have been selling uranium to farmers in Arusha region and has helped the police to arrest the culprits. 

Nuclear expert at TAEC Dr Melkizedeck Mwijarubi has said that once inhaled, uranium dust lodges in lungs and causes serious cases of cancer in both lungs and respiratory tracks and should it be consumed with the crops the chemicals will destroy the digestive system.

According to experts Grain from farmers who coat their produce with uranium dust may affect even those who do not use the chemicals once they grind them in a mill used by others.


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