New Delhi, India (BBN)-The chemical widely used for artificially ripening fruits is calcium carbide (CaC2) which contains arsenic and phosphorus, both of which can prove fatal for human beings.

CaC2 is a known carcinogen – an agent having the ability to alter human cells into cancerous cells, reports the India Today.

Though this chemical is banned in many countries, including India, it is being freely used across the country to ripen fruits such as mangoes, watermelons, bananas etc. just to scale up the sales.

One of the main reasons to practise this process is to cut short the time taken by fruits to ripen naturally, which usually takes longer than the one which involves chemicals.

“Calcium carbide leads to skin allergies and rashes and at times can also cause a severe disease like skin cancer. Since most of the fruits procured from the market are artificially ripened, the only way to skim the carbide content is to wash the fruits properly. The use of this chemical should be stopped completely in order to wipe out the risk of cancerous diseases,” Delhi-based skin specialist Dr AK Dadhwal said.

Doctors suggest fruits and vegetables should be bought from noted stores like Mother Dairy’s Safal as they use ethylene for ripening fruits, which is considered safer than other methods. “We at Safal use ethylene for ripening fruit which is quite similar to the natural ripening agents produced by fruits. At Safal, fruits are ripened using scientific methods. Ethylene has no adverse effect on health,” said Pradipta Sahoo, business head (horticulture), Mother Dairy fruits and vegetables.