KARACHI    -   Every day we are exposed to various toxins, which cause various health problems. A toxic substance could be poisonous or cause health effects on the human body. The air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink, may have a toxic effect on our body. Event drug overdose may cause health hazards including hepatic and renal failure.

These views were expressed by Professor Dr Syed Ehteshamul Haque, Director M A H Qadri Biological Research Center and Department of Botany, University of Karachi, during a seminar arranged on ‘toxins and human health: the impact of drugs overdose, pesticides, Fungal and industrial toxins on human health’, held at Botany Auditorium.He said, “Our food not only contains pesticide residues, but it may also be contaminated with microbial toxins, including mycotoxins. The mycotoxin contamination of food, feed and agricultural products has emerged as an issue of serious concern as these toxic substances may cause different types of poisoning and consequently, diverse health problems in both animals and humans.”“These secondary metabolites are produced by toxigenic fungi which produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. They may occur either before or after harvest, during storage, on/in the food itself often under warm, damp and humid conditions.”Dr Syed Ehteshamul Haque informed the audience that the industrial revolution

moved the manufacturing of goods from hand production methods to machines, small shops and homes to large factories. This shift brought about changes in culture as people moved from rural areas to big cities in order to work.Professor Dr Ehteshamal Haque shared that but this massive industrialisation

also creating a problem for the environment, where we live. Many industries release a large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds and chemicals into the air resulting in depletion of the quality of air.He said that petroleum refineries also release hydrocarbons and various other chemicals that pollute the air, where we breathe, when toxic chemicals reach to the sea, affect marine life.He further said that exposure to heavy metal could have several consequences in the human body. It could affect the central nervous function leading to mental disorder, damage the blood constituents and may damage the lungs, liver, kidneys and other vital organs. Long-term lead exposure among industrial workers could result in neuropathy and various disorders.Meanwhile, the chief guest, senior Toxicologist Regulatory Department Scotts Miracle-Gro, Ohio, USA, Dr Shakil Saghir, shared that bringing pesticide products in the American market is a very different task.He mentioned that there are many precautionary steps which have been taken into consideration before allowing any product to do business, insect killing product is thoroughly examined for its side effects, and it must be patent product to reach to public.Dr Saghir added that drug inducted toxicity now becomes a serious problem in drug therapy as nowadays toxicology

has become one of the most important field in food, agriculture, environment and medicine.According to him, individuals have regular exposure to pesticides had a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson’s

disease than those reporting no exposure. Other speakers include Professor Dr Shamim Qureshi, Department of Biochemistry,

KU, Dr Syed Asim Rehan Kazmi,

Director General Food Quality and Safety Research Institute, Dr Riaz Uddin, Dr Najamus Sahar, Dr Hira Khan, Assisstant

Professor, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Dow University of Health Sciences