By Victoria Magar
You must have heard that boarding schools serve students meals laced with paraffin to lower their libido. Most students rush to the dining hall for ugali madondo with ‘top layer’ without knowing that the said top layer is mostly paraffin.
But instead, recent studies show that crude kerosene increases the sex drive which may explain the rampant cases of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among high school students.
This comes after the education cabinate secretary George Magoha yesterday mentioned Bungoma county as the leading with the highest number of students with early pregnancy, followelled by Narok county.
The statistics was taken during the kenya certificate of secondary education exam was about to start, at this time many female students in different schools were seen pregnant and others had babies.
Use of paraffin is also a health hazard, as it leads to cases of abdominal pains, gastritis and ulcers. This research negates the widely held belief that paraffin used in boarding school kitchens when preparing meals helps in taming high sex drive among students battling the sexual demons of puberty.
The study, titled Effects of crude kerosene on testosterone levels, aggression and toxicity in rats, reads in part: “In many Kenyan boarding schools, especially high schools. One such remedy that has been used traditionally is crude kerosene.”
Kerosene is a distillate of crude petroleum that contains aliphatic, aromatic and a variety of other branched unsaturated hydrocarbons, and “students are exposed to doses of kerosene as a dietary supplement usually without their consent,” reads the report which was done by researchers; Rachel Njoroge, Benson Macharia, Dinah Sawe and Geoffrey Maiyoh at the University of Eldoret.
The hormone responsible for sexual arousal is serum testosterone. Instead of suppressing it, the scientists found out that the use of paraffin (they experimented with rats) caused a marked increase in the rats’ serum testosterone levels, thus increasing their sex drive (libido).
The serum testosterone is also responsible for the enlargement of reproductive organs, production of sperm, increased frequency of erection, and growth of facial, chest, nipple, and pubic hair.
The study also established that adolescent boys with higher testosterone were more likely to engage in aggressive behaviours, like burning of dormitories.
“These findings may explain the increase in the numbers of teenage pregnancies, rebellion to authority and violence as seen in school-going teenage children,” the researchers stated.
Rats served with paraffin laced meals also showed signs of active chronic gastritis in the stomach and clotting disorders, while those which were not served with paraffin did not.
The scientists also linked hyper-sexuality among teenagers to a highly sexualised media environment besides poor parenting and peer pressure.
The scientists also conducted a survey in public universities, where 68 per cent of females and 76 per cent of males in the first year from 28 counties reported that either high school lunch or dinner was laced with paraffin daily. More than 60 per cent of respondents said it was to reduce their desire for sex, while 40 per cent did not know.
The scientists warned that “there may be need to re-examine the contribution of dietary kerosene supplementation, especially in school-going children” and recommended an alternative, effective and safe ways to control sexual hyperactivity that are scientifically proven need to be sought as a replacement to kerosene dietary supplementation.
This explains as to what is happening to many high school students espesially in Bungoma county, according to the interview conducted with some of the high school students in Bungoma county, they said that there every day meal in school must have paraffin which they are used to not knowing what it does to there body.