KILLING ME SOFTLY WITH
HIS COKE ...



Sutirtho Patranobis:
Poison in your soft drink,
study says

Twelve popular soft-drink brands have been found to contain dangerously high levels of pesticides and insecticides. Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tested brands of market leaders Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. It found that Coke contained 30 times and Pepsi 36 times the amount of pesticides considered acceptable by the European Economic Commission (EEC). The NGO also tested one bottle each of Coke and Pepsi bought in the US. They were both free of pesticide residue. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have threatened legal action against the NGO. At a press conference on Tuesday, their officials said the allegations should be disregarded. They said the CSE did not have the expertise to conduct such sophisticated tests.

Coke now accused of causing women to abort
Viju B Plachimada
(Kerala), August 8

Coca Cola Company, under attack for containing pesticides in its bottled drinks, has more problems in its hand. It is now accused of contributing to the production of 'poisoned fruits' and thereby causing a lot of miscarriages among pregnant women in a Kerala village.

According to Kerala's Perumadi panchayat president A Krishnan, the company has not been disposing off its toxic wastes properly. "Instead they are selling it off as manure to our farmers!" "The Kerala Pollution Control Board has confirmed that the wastes have cadmium and lead content well above the permissible limit. This can cause cancer, kidney failure and delivery problems among women if it enters into the food chain," says Green Peace activist Ameer Shahul.

The company has already disposed off 5000 tons of toxic waste as manure to farmers in the area. "Already we foresee a major health problem. We have information that there were seven spontaneous abortion cases in the past one year alone in the area. A state health team is shortly visiting the tribals to make a detailed study," adds Shahul.

Krishnan is also outraged by the fact that while the panchayat gave the plant permission to dig only one borewell, the company went ahead and dug six.

"So even water in Plachimada has become scarce," Krishnan said.

The 250 odd bore wells in the 15 kilometer radius area have become almost dry and what is more terrifying is that many of them have turned brackish and putrid, and so unfit for drinking. However, Coke officials deny these allegations. "The technology of our waste water treatment is the best in the world. The investigations by the Kerala Pollution Control Board and the Kerala State Ground Water Department (KSGD) have given us a clean chit," a Coke spokesperson said

Pepsi, Coca Cola now accused of causing cancer
Press Trust of India
Kolkata, August 8

Fresh on the heels of charges that its soft drinks contain high levels of pesticides, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are now being accused of causing cancer, miscarriages and kidney failure in Kerala and West Bengal.

The West Bengal Government on Friday said its Pollution Control Board (PCB) has found high levels of toxic metals in waste released from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo plants.

The announcement comes two days after the Kerala Pollution Control Board made a similar claim regarding Coca-Cola's Plachimada plant.

The West Bengal PCB, which collected sludge from six Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola bottling plants in the state for testing, discovered that cadmium levels in the effluent of at least two of the plants at Taratala in Kolkata, and one in Dankuni in Hoogly district, were above the hazardous level of 50 mg per kg, West Bengal's Environment Minister Manab Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee said that the PCB has also found lead, another toxic metal, above permissible limits in the liquid effluents of Coca-Cola's Dankuni plant. The West Bengal government, he said, has asked both the MNCs to explain the process of production which led to sludge containing a high level of cadmium. The development took place barely two days after a country-wide panic following detection of pesticides by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in at least 12 soft drink brands produced by these MNCs. Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court today addmitted a public interest litigation by an environemntalits praying for direction to ban all soft drink brands in which pesticides were found in CSE tests.

Petitioner Subhas Dutta in his submission before the division bench of Chief Justice A K Mathur and Justice Asim Banerjee stated that since the supply of these soft drinks in Parliament premises had been discontinued, by the same logic these should be banned for the general public. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which collected samples from the bottling plants of the two cola majors, threatened that it would cancel the trade licences of soft drinks companies if tests on samples confirmed the presence of pesticide.

"We are awaiting the report of the tests before deciding on cancelling trade licences," city Mayor Subrata Mukerhee said while admitting that the civic body had no authority to shut down the plants of MNCs.

The sale of the two leading cola brands had substantially dropped in the metropolis over the last two days, according to Mayor in-Council (Health) Pradip Ghosh.

"There has been panic after the study by CSE found pesticides in soft drinks," Ghosh said. He also announced that the municipal body would collect samples of non-cola drinks and mineral water sold in the metropolis to determine whether they contained any hazardous substance.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which collected samples from the bottling plants of the two cola majors, threatened that it would cancel the trade licences of soft drinks companies if tests on samples confirmed the presence of pesticide.

"We are awaiting the report of the tests before deciding on cancelling trade licences," city Mayor Subrata Mukerhee said while admitting that the civic body had no authority to shut down the plants of MNCs.

The sale of the two leading cola brands had substantially dropped in the metropolis over the last two days, according to Mayor in-Council (Health) Pradip Ghosh.

"There has been panic after the study by CSE found pesticides in soft drinks," Ghosh said. He also announced that the municipal body would collect samples of non-cola drinks and mineral water sold in the metropolis to determine whether they contained any hazardous substance.

Coca Cola Company, under attack for containing pesticides in its bottled drinks, has more problems in its hand. It is now accused of contributing to the production of 'poisoned fruits' and thereby causing a lot of miscarriages among pregnant women in a Kerala village. According to Kerala's Perumadi panchayat president A Krishnan, the company has not been disposing off its toxic wastes properly. "Instead they are selling it off as manure to our farmers!" "The Kerala Pollution Control Board has confirmed that the wastes have cadmium and lead content well above the permissible limit. This can cause cancer, kidney failure and delivery problems among women if it enters into the food chain," says Green Peace activist Ameer Shahul. The company has already disposed off 5000 tons of toxic waste as manure to farmers in the area. "Already we foresee a major health problem. We have information that there were seven spontaneous abortion cases in the past one year alone in the area. A state health team is shortly visiting the tribals to make a detailed study," adds Shahul.

Krishnan is also outraged by the fact that while the panchayat gave the plant permission to dig only one borewell, the company went ahead and dug six.

"So even water in Plachimada has become scarce," Krishnan said.

The 250 odd bore wells in the 15 kilometer radius area have become almost dry and what is more terrifying is that many of them have turned brackish and putrid, and so unfit for drinking. However, Coke officials deny these allegations. "The technology of our waste water treatment is the best in the world. The investigations by the Kerala Pollution Control Board and the Kerala State Ground Water Department (KSGD) have given us a clean chit," a Coke spokesperson said.

Tina Susman:
Afraid to Keep It,
Afraid to Burn It
Alabama Town Wary as Army Begins Destroying Weapons Stockpile

She never knows when the seizures will come. Perhaps in mid-sentence, as she is describing the warm, windy morning eight years ago when the first one struck, turning her lively face into a twisted, frozen mask. Perhaps as she talks about the toxic vapors that were leaking from the nearby Army depot that morning, vapors she's convinced caused the mysterious ailment. Perhaps if a whiff of something triggers a reaction to whatever haunts her system. All Arametta Porter knows is that the seizures will come and that several times a day a tingling sensation will creep across her face, like worms crawling under the skin. Then the left side of her mouth will be stretched back to her ear. Her eyes will squeeze shut, and odd chirping sounds will come from her distorted lips. It will last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. Like many in this eastern Alabama town, Porter, a 55-year-old retired biology teacher, lived for decades within a few miles of the Army depot, unaware it housed 2,254 tons of rockets, mines and other weapons loaded with deadly nerve agents like GB and VX and blistering mustard. Like many here, she wasn't too worried when the weapons' existence became common knowledge after the Cold War. After all, she reasoned, they had been stashed there since the 1960s without a problem.

From Common Dreams





  






08-14-03


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