A woman in England who is expecting a child has found herself to be addicted to eating polish and other cleaning products. These bizarre eating habits are due to a rare disorder called pica.
Women appear to get an interesting variety of strange cravings when they are pregnant. It's not uncommon for those who are expecting to develop a taste for things some might find odd. A woman in England who is seven months pregnant has a much weirder craving than the much spoken about pickles and ice cream; Emma Veness has the uncontrollable urge to consume furniture polish.
The 26-year-old mother-to-be is completely aware of the harm eating polish among other household cleaning products can do to her unborn child. The problem is she is just unable to help indulging her unconventional cravings. Veness' urges to ingest polish started when her baby was two months along. Her cravings result from a rare eating disorder known as pica.
Pica is a condition where the person affected has cravings for non-food items. It often affects pregnant women as well as children, the latter usually having autism or another developmental disorder. It is said to be caused by mineral deficiencies particularly concerning iron. The disease's namesake is Latin for magpie, which is a bird known to eat essentially anything.
Veness' habit for eating non-food items goes back to her childhood when she ingested bubbles during bath time. Her mother and grandmother have been known to eat coal when they were pregnant as well. As far as the cleaning products, Emma started her polish eating rituals by inhaling it from her dusters. Her condition since evolved to snacking straight from the can and even satisfying her cravings with products found under the sink.
Veness even has a brand preference of polish, confessing "It's quite embarrassing; I've tried all different brands but Asda Smart Price polish is the one that does it for me. The others are too perfume.”
Since pica is such a little-known disease, and has had very little research done on it, it is suggested that “any individual [should have] a well-balanced diet and if they are worried that something like this is affecting them they should seek help at the earliest opportunity," said a spokesman for Beat, a charity for eating disorders.
Little knowledge means little help for people like Veness as she stated "I just wish someone could help me stop, but no one seems to know how to help me or what to do. Most people have never even heard of pica."