Health in Peril

Published: Wednesday 30 June 1999

workers at Hema Chemical Industries in Vadodara Gujarat are still on strike against the negligent approach of the management towards implementing health and safety norms. S K Varma, surgeon at the Factory Inspector Office, Vadodara, had recently confirmed that about 43 workers at the company are suffering from nasal septum perforation and dermatitis (a type of skin problem). This was found during a medical examination carried out by him. A systematic medical examination of all the workers is yet to be done.

However, the state labour ministry has declared the strike as illegal and asked the strikers to resume work. The company manufactures potassium and sodium bichromate, chromium sulfate, and other chromium based chemicals. Chromium is a metal used widely in alloy and metal plating. Bichromate is hexavalent chromium, which is a known carcinogen. It causes chronic rhinitis, phayrngitis and nasal septum perforation, apart from lung cancer.

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