Man Suffers Tear in Esophagus After Eating Ghost Pepper: Study

Daredevil eaters be warned, chowing down on ghost peppers can be potentially dangerous.

A 47-year-old male, who made his way to the hospital following a violent bout of vomitting and retching, suffered a 2.5-centimeter tear in his esophagus after eating the spicy pepper during a contest, according to a September report published in The Emergency Journal of Medicine by a Bay Area-based research team.

The esophageal injury, which landed the man in the hospital for more than three weeks, is a rare, yet potentially deadly condition, according to the report.

As for whether or not the ghost pepper itself should be a cause for concern, the report's authors believe this may be first serious case.

The researchers wrote in the study's background that, "to our knowledge, no significant adverse effects of ghost pepper ingestion have been reported."

Ghost peppers, also known as "bhut jolokia," are one of the hottest on the planet. According to the Scoville scale, a measuring system that determines a food's pungency level, ghost peppers pump out one million Scoville heat units. That's nearly twice the amount of spicy strength compared to a habanero pepper, according to the report.

Considering other comparisons, bell peppers check in with a zero on the Scoville scale while jalapenos rest anywhere between 2,500 and 8,000 heat units, according to the measuring stick.

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