The health effects of consuming sugar laced with mercury and copper

Detectives from Kenya recently seized consignments of sugar laced with the two elements

A government chemist report showed that the more than 1,300 bags of sugar had dangerous levels of copper and mercury.

The elements, medics say, are capable of causing some types of cancer and harming internal organs.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the ingestion and inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.

Nerve damage

A similar study in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health noted that many incidents of mercury poisoning have led to long-term nerve damage, which can cause among others, intelligence disorders and low IQ, slow reflexes, paralysis, numbness as well as problems with memory and concentration.

Copper on the other hand causes nausea, bloody diarrhea, low blood pressure anaemia and heart complications. The element could also damage tissues and body organs if taken in excess.

The Cabinet Secretary for Interior has vowed to get rid of the contraband goods even as questions linger on how the illegal sugar found its way through the country's entry points.

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