All employees handling polyacrylate material at three industrial units in Gandhinagar district must be sent to the National Institute of Occupational Health for a complete health check-up,amicus curiae Shalin N Mehta has told the Gujarat High Court.
The three pharmaceutical units manufacturing the material are Chhatral-based Vikram Thermo (India) Ltd and Shree Chemicals,and Rakanpur-based Maruti Chemicals.
The court is currently hearing a suo motu case about occupational health hazards believed to be caused by polyacrylate.
At least four workers at a factory owned by Corel Pharma Chem at Kadi in Mehsana district are believed to have died from pulmonary complications caused by the material. Two others are currently ill.
Occupational health experts who first examined four of the victims in June 2011 were alarmed to observe that severe ailments were setting in and killing the workers faster than silicosis.
The Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) had subsequently been directed by the court to inspect pharmaceutical units across the state,where it was found that three out of 146 such units manufactured polyacrylate,while two used the material in one or the other process.
Mehta also submitted that the three units must be asked to explain whether the safety equipments (gloves,masks,etc.) provided to workers are of industrial grade,and if the workers came into direct contact with the material.
He also told the court that at least eight raw materials with their own peculiar properties and ill-effects upon coming into contact with human beings were used by the units.
Separately,DISHs certifying surgeon had conducted follow-up health checks on nine workers employed in Vikram Thermo and Maruti Chemicals. They were found suffering from ailments such as anemia,high values of serum bilirubin and SGBT,and alveolitis.
DISH told the court that all nine were showing signs of improvement after treatment.
The factory manager at Shree Chemicals,however,told the certifying surgeon that all three workers at the unit earlier diagnosed with ailments (one with interstitial lung disease) no longer worked there.