Eligibility crisis

Published: Friday 15 August 2003

India's plan to open its fourth poison information centre has run into problems over non-fulfilment of basic criteria. A World Health Organisation (who) team recently inspected the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (itrc) in Lucknow, where the unit will be based, and raised a few objections.

Ideally, a poison information centre should be attached to analytical laboratories and hospitals so that the data it generates can be used quickly in any life-threatening situation. itrc, however, would only be able to provide analytical services, as it is not linked to any hospital in the area. The centre doesn't satisfy another condition -- that of staying open for 24 hours. "We will rectify this by assigning four scientists in the organisation, who can be contacted at any time during an emergency," explains R C Srivastava, initiator of the project and former head of itrc's analytical toxicology department.

At present, India has three poison information centres: in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai. They provide toxicological information on different poisons.

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