Pesticides And Toxins

  • Panama Cough Syrup Death Toll Rises Further

    At least 115 Panamanians died after drinking toxic cough syrup in 2006, investigators said on Thursday, as the slow probe into the health disaster turned up more cases. Jose Oro, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Affairs, said recent clinical tests had shown at least 115 people died after taking cough syrup that was adulterated with diethylene glycol, a poisonous substance normally used in engine coolant. The Chinese-made toxin was mistaken for a sweetener by government drug manufacturers, who made low-cost medicines for Panama's poorest people. Investigators previously estimated the drug had killed 94 people, mainly from kidney failure or related ailments. Investigations are only slowly turning up new cases because of the number of people involved. Only around 20 percent of the 763 people tested to date have actually shown traces of the deadly drug, according to a government study. (Reporting by Andrew Beatty, editing by Todd Eastham) REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

  • Post-Budget, e-waste problem may worsen

    It took a much-publicised Greenpeace agitation in 2005 two years to achieve its desired result - make Wipro Infotech come out with a range of eco-friendly desktops in June 2007. Unfortunately, it will need a more sustained movement to curb the growing electronic waste menace- which is bound to gain momentum following the 2% reduction in the mean central value-added tax rate on all IT products announced in the latest Union budget, as more people dump their old desktops for newer versions. "Sales of desktops are likely to go up 15-20% because of rising demand. Unless corrective measures are taken, the e-waste problem is going to become more serious,' Vinnie Mehta, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology (MAIT), said. "It's high time India had proper guidelines in place on disposal of ewaste,' Greenpeace toxics campaigner Ramapati Kumar said. Currently, many companies either dump their e-waste in the garbage bin or sell it to local scrap dealers. A large quantity of desktops sold in India use hazardous chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which makes it more necessary that these products are disposed safely.

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