After sending fire crackers commonly used in Diwali and often handled by children to a private laboratory, NGOAwaaz Foundation has written to the chief minister and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to withdraw these crackers from the market. Reason: The test results indicated the presence of high levels of dangerous chemicals, including mercury, lead and sulphur.
Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of Awaaz Foundation, the crackers were sent to the lab last week, specifically to check the amount of carbon, sulphur, cadmium, lead and mercury contained. She informed that while there was no cadmium in any of the crackers tested, the presence of mercury was a major scare, specially with children handling them.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed mercury and lead among the top 10 most dangerous and toxic chemicals. All four chemicals found are completely unsuitable for use within a crowded urban area, particularly in close proximity to a water body such as the sea, as sulphur reacts with water to produce sulphuric acid, while mercury bio-accumulates in fish,” said Sumaira, adding that exposure to mercury can even result in death.
“In the interest of health of all citizens, we have requested environment minister Prakash Javadekar and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to ask for urgent withdrawal of firecrackers that contain mercury, cadmium or sulphur,” she said, adding that the government authorities must ensure the firecrackers are banned.