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CSR: How can India Inc Help in Reducing Perchlorate Contamination

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perchlorate contaminating food
 

Perchlorate contamination is slowly and gradually taking over all the food and water we consume. Whether or not we are aware of it, we have consumed perchlorate in food or beverages we consume. Perchlorate is a chemical used in plastic packaging and food handling equipment for dry food like cereal, flour, and spices to reduce the build-up of static charges.

Unfortunately, Perchlorate is a well-known endocrine-disruptor that can migrate from packaging into food. The chemical can impair the thyroid’s ability to make a hormone which is essential to brain development and therefore can harm the developing brain of a foetus or infant. This makes it very concerning that pregnant women and children are likely eating food contaminated with the chemical.

Apart from packaging, this chemical can enter the food system because of the usage of hypochlorite bleach used as a disinfectant in processing and from contaminated water. Unfortunately, the excessive use of the chemical has led to contamination of the groundwater in the Indian state of Kerala.

The Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), a US-based organisation, is working to make food safer for all by urging corporate leaders to improve the safety of food additives and pushing policymakers to modernize the regulatory system. Considering the clear risks associated with perchlorate in food, the organisation has suggested certain steps to be taken by the corporates which can help in the prevention of further contamination of resources. Following are three things corporates can do to reduce the contamination caused by this chemical.

  1. Avoid packaging or food handling equipment containing perchlorate. Periodically test raw materials for the chemical.
  2. Improve bleach management. Limiting the degradation of bleach will reduce perchlorate formation and make it a more effective disinfectant.
  3. Ensure water used in products is not contaminated with perchlorate.

Thank you for reading the column until the very end. We appreciate the time you have given us. In addition, your thoughts and inputs will genuinely make a difference to us. Please do drop in a line and help us do better.

Regards,
The CSR Journal Team

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