Supari has been declared as a cancer causing substance by International Agency for Research On Cancer, World Health Organization. Supari is one of the main ingredient of Gutka and Pan Masala that are posing serious health problems in India. While Pan Masala is a predominantly Areca Nut (Supari) product, Gutka is a combination of the Smokeless tobacco and Areca nut (Supari). Both Pan Masala and Gutka contain several other additives such as menthol, perfume, spices, sugar, preservatives etc to package it into a mouth freshening product. Aanalysis of various market preparations of Gutka and Pan masala in India have shown very high levels of heavy metals viz. Lead, Cadmium, Chromium, Arsenic, Copper and Nickel in such products. These heavy metals are capable of causing serious human disease, as they are toxic even at ultra small levels. FDAs in several states have raided and seized several gutka products in the past especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat due to very high levels of Magnesium Carbonate.
Summary of Health Effect of the Areca Nut or Supari
- Highly addictive
- Usually taken along with smokeless tobacco
- International Agency for research on Cancer, World Health Organization has classified Areca Nut as confirmed cancer causing substances.
- It contains several polyphenols and nitrosamines that are confirmed carcinogenic.
- It causes impairment of oral and dental health.
- It’s usage is strongly associated with precancerous lesions and cancer of mouth that is a leading cancer in India.
- Studies have shown association between Supari chewing and cancers of the Liver, oesophagus, stomach and lung.
- Supari use is associated with hypertension and ischemic heart disease.
- Usage of Supari adversely affects reproductive health in women and also affects fetus.
- Supari chewing is associated with diabetes, obesity and several metabolic disorders.
- Supari chewing is associated with causation of certain psychological disorders.