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TNPCB VOC Study in SIPCOT Begins; Locals Report Sharp Decline in Odour

Cuddalore 5 March 2009: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has initiated yet another study of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in SIPCOT Cuddalore from 2nd March 2009. The local villagers are reporting a sharp decline in the chemical odours from the SIPCOT units since the study, alleging that the units are not operating at full capacity. They feel that this move of the industries is with the intention to underplay the levels of chemical pollution in the region. According to the daily records of the pollution patrol conducted by SACEM, chemical odours of rank 3 (on a scale of 1 to 10) have normally been reported since the beggining of the study, while they had recorded levels as high as 8 and 9 merely a day before.

It is normal for the SIPCOT Units to behave in this manner. The problem of pollution has always been tackled with denial and misrepresentation of facts rather than initiating constructive steps in mitigating the problem.

Chronology:

2004 SACEM (Air Quality Report)

First of its kind, the report presented the results of the air samples taken by communities to identify VOCs and other toxic chemicals.

Results: 22 Chemicals, including 8 Carcinogens; some chemicals in levels 22000 times above the safe limit.

2005

Report of Cuddalore SIPCOT Industrial Association sponsored

The report was leaked to SACEM and was never released by the industries.

Study Conducted by Bangalore based Shiva Laboratories, results: 13 toxic chemicals found, including 8 in levels above permissible limits by US EPA Standards, including 6 carcinogens.
2005 SACEM (Air Quality Report II) Follow up of the first report; results more or less the same indicating the lack of implementation of recommendations of SCMC by TNPCB and SIPCOT industries.
2007 SACEM (Results of two air samples taken in March 2007) The results of these samples highlighted total of 15 chemicals found.
  • 4 out of 15 chemicals are known to cause cancer in animal and humans
  • 11 out of 15 chemicals have been found exceeding the safe levels prescribed by the US EPA or any other standards.
This report highlighted the results of toxic chemicals found three years after the first report highlighted similar kind of results.
2008 NEERI (Study of VOCs in SIPCOT Cuddalore) The study of air pollution in and around SIPCOT chemical industrial estate found 94 chemicals in the ambient air, including 15 that are known hazardous air pollutants. The report also estimates that SIPCOT Cuddalore residents are at least 2000 times more likely to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to their exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region.
   
   
   
   
   
   
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