Eating Dirt and Other Non- Food Items Essay

1103 Words 5 Pages
Pica is a disease which has the main trait of eating non-food products. Gerald Callahan (2013) wrote an article called “Eating Dirt” which discusses the immunological effects of the pica of eating dirt. There are various types of non-food items people consume that show abnormal behaviour. There are numerous health risks and issues with people eating food not intended to being eaten and in contrast there are also benefits to people from eating certain picas. There are multiple possibilities as to why people eat non-food items. In modern culture there are a variety of picas that are present.

A pica may be eaten in many different forms. Callahan (2013: 164) suggests the idea of eating dirt for children and even for people later in life as
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If these items were not considered abnormal to eat then these people would not have been selected for the experiment. This shows the extent of picas that can be consumed other than just dirt as the original article explains.

The amount of health risks related to pica conditions is overwhelming. According to Callahan (2013: 164) eating dirt can cause illness in people due to all of the microbes that make up dirt. This is a major health issue with the pica of eating dirt because it can cause illness due to all of the germs found in dirt. Callahan (2013: 167) suggests the idea that toxic substances could possibly contaminate the soil in industrial areas or areas that are home to humans; animal and human fecal matter is also a risk when eating dirt due to the diseases they can cause when ingested. The chemicals and compounds in soil that is located near a factory for example could cause harmful illnesses as so could decomposing feces that has formed into dirt. In the case of an elderly lady eating her own feces on purpose Sharma (2011: 2375) explains she was admitted to a hospital because she had become sick after eating her waste and possibly contracting parasites. This shows another example of how harmful picas can be because eating something without nutritional value and something that your body has already digested once can be a reason for someone being admitted to the hospital. Piazza (2002: 233) explains the major hazards of eating non-food items and lists them as:

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