campaign in India heats up
campaign in India heats up
allegations of toxic waste dumping, Hindustan
Lever has decided to discontinue manufacture of mercury thermometers
at its Kodaikanal factory in Tamil Nadu. Hindustan Lever has also
reportedly agreed to clean up 5.3 tonnes of mercury that it has illegally
dumped, but the firm denies that the workers and local inhabitants may
have been exposed to the highly toxic metal.
a giant Anglo-Dutch multinational corporation whose products include
Dove soap and Lipton tea, has been accused of dumping mercury in a hazardous
manner via a factory owned by its Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Lever
Limited. The factory is in the mountain town and tourist resort of Kodaikanal
in Tamil Nadu and produces thermometers for the export market.
March 7, local
activists from the Palni Hills Conservation Council and Greenpeace India
cordoned off a dump site in Kodaikanal where the factory had dumped
contaminated waste. They also led a protest march of about two hundred
people against HLL and Unilever for bringing the toxic metal into the
town and dumping it in such a manner.
activist group Greenpeace has asked the Union government to initiate
an action plan to rapidly phase in safe, non-toxic alternatives to mercury
use in India.
the News reports:
force HLL to close Kodaikanal plant (June 29, 2001)
charges HLL with toxic dumping at TN plant ( June 21, 2001)
to stop production at Kodaikanal plant (June 20, 2001)
seeks alternatives for mercury use (June 20, 2001)
admits to toxic dumping; will clean up, but not come clean (June 19,
Plays Rough to Cover-up Mercury Mess (April
Hindustan Lever admits to dumping of mercury-containing
wastes (March 22, 2001)
suspends mercury use at Kodi (March , 2001)
TamilNadu groups launch alliance against mercury and Lever (March 12,
Lever, Clean up, Don't cover up (March 9, 2001)
Greenpeace accuses Unilever of negligence
over mercury poisoning of Indian tourist resort (March 7, 2001)
Dangerous mercury thermometer factory and waste dump in India has links
to major U.S. company. Children and workers exposed to mercury imported
from the U.S. (March 7, 2001)
Activists expose Hindustan Lever's illegal mercury waste dumps in Kodaikanal
(February 28, 2001)
See visual evidence of mercury pollution in Kodaikanal: Greenpeace photographs
expose Hindustan Lever's environmental crime
Now! Join the ex-workers of Hindustan Lever's polluting mercury thermometer
factory in their appeal for justice and for freedom from mercury pollution.
Ex-workers, who were exposed to mercury in the workplace, launched their
campaign on Earth Day with a day-long hunger strike. Sign
Greenpeace-India's online petition to stop Unilever's pollution in India!
On a personal level, you can help by boycotting products made by Unilever's
Indian subsidiary, HLL. If more people decided to do this, it would
send the message that Indian consumers do not support polluting companies.
a letter to Unilever's Executive Committee protesting the dumping of
mercury in India. Example of a letter
you can send.
Action! Prevent the dumping of toxic mercury in India
is an extremely powerful neurotoxin that has already contaminated
waterways throughout the United States, posing widespread dangers
to the population, particularly pregnant women and children.
Earlier this year, a US company attempted to ship 118 tons of used
mercury from a failed HoltraChem chlor-alkali factory in Maine to
Fortunately, our vigilant activists alerted the government to the
danger and the shipment was rejected.
the danger is far from over and as long as India continues to accept
these shipments, we will continue to be a dumping ground for toxic
wastes that are rejected elsewhere.
more information on mercury (pdf)
you know that mercury can affect the brain?
the background on the Holtrachem shipment
the NGO statement, sent to the Indian Government
the News and Press releases
Care Without Harm praises Minnesota law to ban mercury thermometer
sales (April 26, 2001)
applaud mercury action by US Senator Susan Collins (February 15, 2001)
Greens urge U.S. Congress to ban mercury (January 30, 2001)
hail recall of toxic USA mercury shipment to India (January 29, 2001)
Government of India rejects mercury shipment! (January 25, 2001)
bound mercury shipment under fire (January 10, 2001)
Plan to study mercury's risks unveiled (January 3, 2001)
Environmentalists join forces to prevent export of waste mercury to
India (January 5, 2001)
oppose US scheme to dump toxic mercury in India (December 26, 2000)
toxics wastes dumped in Mumbai: Greenpeace (November 3, 2000)
remains a favoured dumping ground for global toxic wastes (September
Exacts Deadly Toll in Kerala Village
For 10 years, a doctor struggled to understand it. Why were so many
people - children in particular - in his Kerala village suffering from
disorders of the central nervous system? Cerebral palsy, congenital
anomalies and mental retardation, among other disorders. Then, one day
in December 2000, he asked: Could it be the pesticide endosulfan? The
effects of this toxin on human body are quite similar to the maladies
he was seeing. The Plantation Corporation of Kerala has been spraying
endosulfan for years in its neighbouring cashew plantations. Read
the press releases from CAAM
special report shows that the area residents may have been subsidising
government's cashew production with their lives. CSE got samples from
Kerala analysed at its recently set up Environment Monitoring Laboratory.
The amount of endosulfan was unbelievably high in all the samples. Blood,
milk, water, soil, food. The amount of endosulfan in one woman's blood
is 900 times the limit set for water. CSE released the shocking results
of its laboratory analysis on samples brought from Padre village of
Kerala, where a lot of unusual diseases related to the central nervous
system have been reported, especially among children. See
the full lab report (pdf) (Released February 21, 2001)
the news reports:
villagers suffer serious health effects from governmental company's
pesticides programme (March 2, 2001)
of Endosulfan: Down to Earth Special Report (February 28, 2001)
Poison (February 28, 2001)
laboratory analysis strengthens suspicion that the Kerala pesticide
tragedy is a Government corporation's creation (February 21, 2001)
this report on the Padre endosulfan tragedy and offer your comments.
Killer Diseases strike Kasaragod Village
information on toxicity of endosulphan here are some sources:
For more information contact:
Shree Padre, Journalist,
Post Vaninagar, Via Perla 671552
Kerala State, INDIA
Tel : 91-499-866148 ; 91-8251-47234
Speak to the executives of the PCK and protest the poisoning
of the villagers by their endosulfan apray.
numbers of the Plantation Corporation of Kerala:
Mr. Bala Kurup, Manager of TPCK, Kasaragod. Phone: 91-499-450223.
Headquarters of TPCK: Managing Director's phone: 91-481-578301
a letter to your elected representatives urging them to take steps to
promote safer alternatives. Example
of a letter you can send.
interesting ad was recently published by the Pesticide Manufacturers
and Formulators Association of India, in the Times of India (Bangalore)
recently. Although it doesn't say deny that Endosulfan is the
cause, it implies that it is safe for use. See the excerpts of
the ad below, and take action on it by snding
an e-mail to the PMFAI President with your personal objections
to the ad. (We shall provide a letter you can send soon,but a
personal letter will carry more weight)
CLARIFICATION ON ENDOSULFAN
A section of the press had recently carried reports originating
from one particularly village in Kerala about certain health problems
allegedly arising out of aerial application of Endosulfan. This
press release brings a few important facts to light in this connection.
* All pesticides undergo extensive safety testing before they
are registered for commercial use. When used as recommended, registered
pesticides do not pose an adverse impact on the environment and
* Endosulfan has been registered for commercial use in over 60
countries including USA, Japan and several European countries.
The scientific findings of WHO/FAO experts and other regulatory
authorities do not suggest that use of Endosulfan causes diverse
health problems as alleged in the media.
This clarification is issued for the benefit of users and general
public and to clarify the incorrect impression created by the
M F A I
President Pesticide Manufacturers and Formulators Association
B-4, Anand Co-op Hsg Society Ltd, Sitladevi Temple Road, Mahim,
Phone (022) 437 5279
Fax (022) 437 6856