• Friday, April 19, 2024
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MAN sheds light on components, use of styrofoam

MAN sheds light on components, use of styrofoam

…Denounces NAFDAC’s outright ban on item

…Wants pamphlets put inside packs

Piqued by doubts and insinuations in some quarters over the effects of Styrofoam to human beings, Ubah Obasi, chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Imo/Abia branch, has said that polystyrene on its own was considered safe for human consumption when in a solid state.

He, however, cautioned that heating could generate chemicals to leak from the foam into the food.

Read also: Can Lagos take away styrofoam packs and change the culture? It should.

Obasi, who also is the executive director of Akachi Industries Limited (Geepee Group) domiciled in Aba, Abia State, noted that consumption of the contents of a melted foam container one time was unlikely to be harmful and injurious to human health, as according to him, “many researches conducted have proven that.”

In an exclusive interview with BusinessDay, the MAN chairman, Imo/Abia branch, who dwelt extensively on the components and contents of styrofoam, its use and the implication of heating styrofoam in microwave in respect of possible cancerous effects, said that scientists had posited that the cancer risk posed by styrene is low due to small amounts in consumer products.

According to Obasi, studies conducted by independent scientific bodies or associations such as the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations/World Health Organisation Expert committee on food had concluded that “when styrofoam containers are used appropriately, oral exposure to residual styrenemonomers does not result in any adverse health effects.

“The proper use of styrofoam containers is thus, crucial in ensuring safety. Boiling hot or hot oily foods should be cooled slightly, and excess oil from fried foods drained, before being placed in Styrofoam.”

He queried the rational over hasty and reckless banning of items without proper investigations and which are still being used by Starbucks Coffee franchise all over the world.

He said that there are companies that had taken bank loans worth over N3billion and invested in such items and that some of them have employed about 300 staff. He queried what would happen to those Nigerians if they are disengaged by their companies.

He queried: “Some of my members took loans from the banks, some over N3billion; they have taken from the banks, and some have 300 workers, what are they going to tell the banks? You just woke up and banned it. Is this a banana republic?”

He noted that the resultant implication of such a retrogressive policy which he said among other things would throw many workers into the nation’s already saturated labour market.

He advised NAFDAC to insist that industrialists insert pamphlets inside the package or inscriptions detailing the usage by consumers like cigarettes rather than banning its use.

Obasi insisted that foam packaging had always been a good option for the catering industries or firms to cut costs.

Read also: Abia joins Lagos, bans styrofoam take away packs

Against the background of carbon reduction and the plastic ban, Obasi observed that “biodegradable materials with controllable costs are becoming the new option for manufacturers to provide suitable cups or containers for the public catering market.”

He noted that Interfoam China is a professional exhibition for the whole foam industrial chain in Asia, and is an international event that cannot be missed by the professionals from foam industry all around the world.

According to him, “Interfoam China focuses on the latest production, technology and equipment, new techniques, new trend, and new application in foam industry, and spares no effort to provide a professional platform integrating technologies, trade, brand display, and academic exchanges for its upstream and downstream as well as vertical application industries, thus, promoting industrial sustainability.”