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Most people have tang for some surprising products. Those who find stones and sand appetizing devour them on day-to-day basis. There are many naturally occurring substances that people find nice to eat. One naturally occurring substance that some people in Africa find palatable is calabaa chalk.
Commonly known in Ghana as "shre", calabaa chalk is sold out in many shops and markets as a rounded piece of chalk. It is usually whitish grey in colour. The chalk is a mineral deposit of clay which is made up of several elements, like lead, arsenic, aluminium, and alpha lindane (5,6). It is mostly taken by people who are pregnant and people who enjoy it's flavour.
In pregnancy, there are numerous hormonal changes in women that can increase their taste for certain foods which they would usually not eat. Some pregnant women develop appetite for salts and excessive pepper where as others would want to consume more starch. In some situations, pregnant women tend to develop a taste for the whitish grey calabaa chalk (shre).
Some take it because it is believed to be a best cure for morning sickness and fatigue. The elements in the chalk have poisonous effects on the body when taken into the body. They can result in adverse effects like gastritis, inflammation of the digestive tract, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Lead and arsenic are capable of limiting the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, resulting in different types of anemia.
The adverse health implications of the calabaa chalk can cause a greater amount of disaster in pregnant women. The elements expose the baby in the mother's womb to danger. The chemicals in the calabaa chalk are capable of causing abnormalities to the baby and reduce oxygen supply to the baby. In some instances, it can cause damage to the placenta which can result in a miscarriage before the 21st week of pregnancy.
The above are the reasons why the consumption of this calabaa chalk (shre) must not be entertained in ghanaian societies, especially among people who are pregnant and also young ladies.
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