Now tell the truth. Are you here because your pushed-to-the-limit eye overlooked “NOT” and saw “how to poison your neighbor” instead?

Especially that one that just mumbles when you say hello in the morning. Then when your back is turned he throws a polyethylene bag of trash over the fence and into your compound.

But seriously, kidney failure and cancer incidences are becoming more common place these days. Could this be attributable to industrialization? Or is it a direct consequence of new and careless lifestyle practices?

These are ways that you may have unknowingly been poisoning your neighbor.

(1) Washing tomatoes in detergent

I don’t remember whether I passed Biology in secondary school or not but I do remember something called osmosis.

Tomato sellers often wash the fruits in basins of foamy detergent. Isn’t it likely that osmosis might occur during this washing? Is it not possible that some of the detergent is absorbed by the tomatoes?

(2) Insecticide in beans

It has to be said; preserving cowpeas (or black-eyed beans) can be a pain. There is no airtight container that those tiny, devious weevils cannot get into! The insect always finds a way to bore a home, sometimes two, in each bean.

how not poison neighbour

cowpeas are difficult to preserve

But using watered down potions of the toxic insecticide called Sniper on the beans in order to keep weevils away is akin to poisoning the consumer to death.

The death may not be instantaneous, but in the long run, the end result may manifest in kidney failures and liver disease. A tree doesn’t whither the minute it gets cut!

(3) Moin-moin in plastic cups or bags

Who even invented plastic? As if it’s not enough that it ruins the environment, it’s also poisoning the delicious goodness of our steamed bean pudding aka moin-moin!

The chemicals in plastic are released at high temperatures and they get into the food the plastic container is holding. Those chemicals are known to cause cancer.

This means that food should not be cooked in plastic containers or polybags as doing so may cause cancer.

(4) Markers on yams and stockfish, watermelon

Traders use markers to write their names or sign their signatures on their goods at the point of purchase in bush markets. They do these to indicate ownership and avoid confusion when the deal is done and they are back at their base. Usually, two or more traders pool their resources and hire a truck to transport the goods. So when they get to their stores, the names enable easy sorting.

But the traders draw bold and expansive signatures on the products. Everything from stockfish to yams to watermelons.

Again, the process of osmosis is involved here. The stockfish and yam may easily absorb the chemicals from the markers and enter the consumers’ system.

(5) Kunu in shampoo and engine oil cans

Aunty Teldir makes delicious kunu that she sells to many customers. The overhead costs are not that much but she still wants to save more if possible. So instead of buying bottles from a bottle making company, she rounds up the jerrycans of engine oil her husband used for his cars. When she goes to get her hair washed at the salon, she also commanders all the empty shampoo bottles.

At home she makes a good effort to wash the jerrycans and shampoo bottles. Then she fills the containers with the delicious, spicy kunu and goes off to distribute to her customers.

Aunty Teldir is industrious. But what she doesn’t know is that those jerrycan and shampoo bottles have sat with chemicals stored in it for so long that they absorbed some of those agents. However hard Aunty Teldir washes the containers, there are likely to be traces of chemicals still remaining in them. And chemicals equal bad things to the body.

(6) Carbide on plantains and bananas

This one is apparently the fault of plantains and bananas that refuses to ripen all at the same time for the impatient trader to sell.

So the traders collect carbide from mechanics (maybe) and dust the plantains and bananas. They do these to hasten the ripening of the fruits.

But carbide is a dangerous chemical that should not even be inhaled by a human being, much less be eaten.


Roasting stick-meat over woods fires teased to start with pieces of rubber, disposing dry-cell batteries in farms, etc, are some of the many ways you are indirectly poisoning your neighbor.

What other ways are poisons finding a way to humans by other humans?

P/S: what part of Nigeria is the name Teldir from? You will get N10,000 if you are not from that part of the country and you are able to get the answer correctly.


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