Camphor, popularly known and patronised in some homes, is said to be closely related to what is known in some other places as mothballs.

Despite its wide domestic use and exposure, however, the worrying alert coming through is that camphor has as its active ingredient, a danger chemical also known as naphthalene.

The bad news is that naphthalene is said to be toxic to humans. It is carcinogenic and active exposure to the chemical can cause the most dreaded disease, cancer.

That is a scary alert knowing the decades of exposure one has had with this once-upon-a-time household “wonder”. Some of us have grown up with camphor in almost every part of the home.

Its overuse sees the product in the bathroom and toilets as a form of deodoriser to eliminate unpleasant odours. One sees them used even in some public toilets and urinals. They come in various shapes, sizes and attractive colours of late.

On top of its use in the bathroom and toilets, it has also been used in also had translations in the Twi language sounding the alert regarding the deadliness in the excessive exposure were timely.

Though coming a bit late in the day when other countries have already banned its use, the education one got through the postings is empowering and well received. It is better late than never, especially when it raises critical health implications.

As one waits for the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to formally speak on the issue, we have all been forewarned.

The information out there and the warnings shared should be enough caution for one to begin to stay away from camphor use. Environmental pollution What perhaps is alarming to note from some related research available is that the public can be exposed to naphthalene primarily through environmental pollutions, including airborne emissions from industrial sources, open burning, traffic exhaust fumes especially from old vehicles and shockingly from cigarette smoking.

Even before one got to hear about naphthalene, one knew some of these anti-social practices like open burning and exhaust fumes, which have been topics of wide media discussions.

However, it is a regrettable observation that as a society, we seem to have taken some of the bye-laws regulating those ill practices lightly, mainly because there are no strict enforcements. For example, in the Agbogbloshie enclave, it is an open secret that discarded computers, mobile phones and other electrical products and parts are openly burned, poisoning the environment.

The fact that the practice continues shows how much our law enforcers have spurned the effects that open burning continues to have on the inhabitants and those who patronise the area.

The same goes for those who drive vehicles with glaring emissions. Or is it not something the Driver and Vehicle License Authority (DVLA) tests or looks out for? Otherwise, one wonders sometimes how those vehicles qualify for road worthiness in view of their harmful air pollution.

With police officers visibly on our roads these days, we should begin to see an end to this sort of environmental pollution in our society since they all add up as dangers to one’s health.

If our regulators should come out to formally ban the use of camphor for health reasons, one only hopes drastic actions would be taken to rid the shelves and punish anyone who sneaks them in.

The seriousness of the health effects of camphor should be trumpeted high for the sake of preserving health. To be forewarned is forearmed.

Writer’s Email:vickywirekoandoh@yah