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Poisoned Workers of Hindustan Lever Demand Treatment

the company. Kodaikanal is a liability that the company cannot escape from and shareholders should ensure that justice is done to the victims of HLL here.

Among the five children present, 12 year old Prem Anand suffers from brain disorder, 7 year old Yesudas Carmel suffers from heart disorder and 5 year old Raj Kumar and 6 year old twins Pradeesh and Prasanna suffer from congenital deformities. Two children suffering from mercury related illnesses have also died. Ex-workers also report that about 20 workers of average age of 35 years have died so far due to the exposure to mercury after working at the factory.

Even now, several thousand tons of mercury-contaminated wastes are lying inside and around the factory. In early 2003, the company was forced by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to export 289 tonnes of mercury-contaminated material a mercury recycling facility in United States. No such facility capable of treating mercury wastes is available in India.

Amidst tightening environmental regulation in the US due to mercurys toxic effects, Chesebrough Ponds Inc. exported its decades-old mercury thermometer factory to India from the US in 1983. The factory was later acquired by HLL, a subsidiary of European MNC Unilever. The factory was registered as a glass manufacturing unit to evade environmental and health safety controls required of a mercury using facility, (a clear indication of the corruption the company resorts to).

The factory produced 165 million thermometers between 1984-01 for export mostly to the US and EU. During its operations HLL dumped tons of mercury into the pristine atmosphere of Kodaikanal. The Department of Atomic Energys Report shows that even 2 years after the factory was closed, there was 7 times more mercury in the air of Kodaikanal than considered safe for exposure of general populations in the European Union.

Mercury is a known neurotoxin. Its effects are most se
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