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Ethylene oxide

Why is it in the news?

  • Singapore recalls India’s spice product due to the alleged presence of the pesticide ethylene oxide, highlighting concerns over food safety and international trade standards.

About Ethylene oxide (EtO)

  • Ethylene oxide is a highly reactive compound.
  • It is a flammable, colourless gas with a sweet, ether-like odour.
  • EtO has been classified as carcinogenic and mutagenic, especially if inhaled.
  • Long-term exposure or exposure to high concentrations can lead to severe health risks, including mutagenicity (DNA changes), reproductive effects, and carcinogenicity.
  • Ethylene oxide is utilized as a food fumigant to prevent microbial contamination in various food products, including spices.

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