Mercury haunts Hindustan Lever

Published: Tuesday 15 April 2003

The mercury issue is back to haunt Hindustan Lever Limited (hll). The Hazardous Waste Management Committee (hwmc) of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has ordered the company to submit all documents necessary to determine the actual extent of contamination caused by the company's mercury thermometer factory. The panel has also sought an independent enquiry to ascertain the impact of the heavy metal on the health of workers.

hll was forced to shut down its plant about two years ago after it was discovered that it had been disposing of mercury in a manner harmful to humans as well as the environment.

The hwmc has instructed hll to remove contaminated soil from the area, and to place the plant and machinery in a hazardous waste storage facility. In addition to this, the entire stock of mercury at the site would have to be packed and sent to a facility in the us identified by hll.

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