14 firecrackers contain SC banned chemical barium | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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14 firecrackers contain SC banned chemical barium

Nov 08, 2023 08:36 AM IST

Barium is used to produce the green colour in firecrackers. It also acts as a stabilising agent for the products’ long shelf-life

Mumbai : Ahead of Diwali, city-based non-governmental organisation Awaaz Foundation found that 14 of the 22 varieties of popular firecrackers analysed for their chemical component in a laboratory contained barium. Barium is a toxic metal whose use in firecrackers was banned by Supreme Court (SC) in 2018.

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The foundation shot off a letter to chief minister Eknath Shinde about the recent findings and underscored that similar reports were submitted to the CM’s office in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022, over email.

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Barium is used to produce the green colour in firecrackers. It also acts as a stabilising agent for the products’ long shelf-life.

“Most of the tested crackers are labelled as ‘green crackers’. However, on testing, we found several of them contained barium, a chemical banned by SC,” said Sumaira Abdulali, founder, Awaaz Foundation.

The letter also added that most firecrackers also contained other chemicals listed as hazardous in Schedule-I ‘List of Hazardous and Toxic Chemicals’ of the ‘Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules 1989’ under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The NGO’s report stated that of the 22 varieties of firecrackers tested, 19 were sold as ‘green crackers’, of which 14 (13 ‘green crackers’ and one other) contained barium amongst other chemicals not listed in the packaging. Here, ‘green’ refers to their apparent eco-friendliness -- based on criteria developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Abdulali said that the packaging of the firecrackers did not state that barium was one of the ingredients. Based on Awaaz Foundation’s findings, SC in 2021 expressed serious concern about the effect of hazardous chemicals on people’s health.

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