A recent study conducted by the University of Allied Health Sciences and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has found that 66.67% of females in the Volta Region are excessively consuming the local alcoholic beverage known as ‘akpeteshie'.
The study, published in the 2023 edition of the Journal, Scientific African, established that the consumption of ‘akpeteshie' among females goes beyond the recommended limit of two drinks per day.
Led by Elvis Nutifafa Agbley, Dr Fidelis Kpodo, and Dr Nii Korley Kortei from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Allied Health Sciences, the study aimed to assess the patterns of ‘akpeteshie' consumption in the municipality and analyze the content of ethanol and contaminants in the samples.
A total of 140 alcohol consumers were recruited for the study, and although methanol and lead were not detected, copper and iron were found in the ‘akpeteshie' samples, exceeding the allowed standards.
The study observed high levels of ‘akpeteshie' consumption among males but also noted an increased abuse of alcohol among females, surpassing the recommended limits of 1-2 drinks per day.
While high levels of iron and copper were found in the ‘akpeteshie' samples, the risk assessment conducted on the consumed toxic metals did not suggest adverse health effects on the population.
However, the study highlighted that the composition of the distillation pipes, predominantly made of copper and other copper alloys, could lead to certain toxicities and potential health problems such as cancer, liver issues, and kidney problems.
The scientists cautioned against excessive consumption of ‘akpeteshie' due to the incremental risk of liver cancer associated with the accumulation of these toxic metals.
Heavy drinking or binge drinking, particularly among women and pregnant women, was found to have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system, increasing the risks of cardiovascular mortality, coronary and peripheral artery disease, heart failure, stroke, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and ischemic heart diseases, as suggested by the literature referenced in the study.
Dr Fidelis Kpodo and Dr Nii Korley Kortei emphasized the need to intensify regulatory and health promotion efforts in response to the findings.