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Poisoned Workers of Hindustan Lever Demand Treatment

vere in the central nervous system. Mercury can cause brain damage in developing fetuses and mild tremors, mental disorders, motor and emotional disturbances, even death, in exposed adults. Even the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes (SCMC) has taken a strict note of the existing mercury contamination in an around the HLL factory site and fixing the liability on HLL ordered the company to reinstate/restore damaged/destroyed elements of the environment .

The SCMC also recommended that HLL should pay an advance of 50 crores towards remediation and independent of this should also set up a health clinic and a non polluting employment center for the health and economic rehabilitation of the affected workers.

Having suffered from HLLs lack of understanding of a well known toxin such as mercury, we sought information on toxins in household products such as soaps and detergents, shampoos and sprays manufactured by HLL. Concerns for toxics in HLLs products range from use of cheap industrial cleansers like SLS and SLES on shampoos, or the presence of pthalates or parabens which are known to be carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, damage the reproductive system, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) for perfumes in the product which can cause damages to practically every organ in the body. Children and women have been found to be particularly vulnerable to these toxics.

We have found that besides the presence of a vast range of toxic chemicals in their consumer products, HLL is perhaps the single largest single contributor to heavy metal poisoning in India through the arsenic content of its soaps, detergents, shampoos. The dispersed nature of detergents and soaps ensures that HLLs arsenic and other toxics reach every waste stream from village wells to surface waterbodies and underground aquifers where it accumulates and resurfaces to poison the water source, workers representatives charged.

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