A pathologists report has indicated that Atrazine poisoning was the reason for the death of eight family members after they had eaten a meal of beans at Shaibuipe in the Northern Region in November 2012.
The report revealed that significant quantities of the poisonous chemical were detected in both the uncooked and cooked beans and in the specimens taken from the stomachs, blood and liver of the victims.
Atrazine is a banned selective herbicide in most developed countries, but still finds its way into northern Ghana.
The Shaibuipe farming community was thrown into a state of shock and mourning over the death of the victims during the post-harvest period in November, 2011.
According to the report, the chemical was either used during the farming or storage period to protect the beans from pests infestation.
However, the time required for the residue in the chemical to fade away was not observed before the victims consumed the beans.
The report, signed by the specialist pathologist, Dr Der Muonir Edmund, and released to the police at Buipe in the Central Gonja District, stated that the samples were also sent to the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) for further toxicological analysis.
The deceased were identified only as Mallam Harunna, Hawawu, Fulera, Faiza, Shaibu, Haril and Mama.
The only survivor was a three-year-old girl, Minawara.
According to the investigator, Issahaku Iddrisu, a brother-in-law of the deceased, claimed he received a call from the head of the deceased family, who was his in-law, asking for help as they were experiencing severe stomach pains after consuming cooked beans for lunch.
Upon arriving at the deceased’s home three hours later, he realised that seven of the victims were already dead, while two were unconscious.
The two were rushed to the Buipe Health Centre and later to the Tamale Teaching Hospital where one of them also died, leaving little Minawara as the only lucky survivor.
Story by Zakaria Alhassan
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