News Watch 50
Last Update: 1/22/2007
A thermometer factory that moved from Watertown to India in 1983 is blamed for poisoning workers and dumping mercury contaminated waste in nearby forest.
According to the Indo-Asian News Service, more than 500 protesters gathered after the death of a 47 year old former worker at Hindustan Lever, Ltd. in Kodaikanal, in southern India.
The plant evolved from the former Cheseborough Ponds that left Watertown in 1983, the report said.
After leaving moving from Watertown to India it came under the ownership of Ponds India Ltd, which merged with Hindustan Lever.
Workers described conditions in which mercury was routinely vacuumed from the floor after each day’s production.
A Greenpeace activist is quoted in the Indo-Asian News Service as saying that the Indian government should prosecute Hindustan Lever for the murders of 17 workers.
The factory was shut down by the government in 2001.
Scores of people in the area suffer from symptoms including stomach pains, incessant headaches and kidney damage, the report said.
In 2005 former workers asked the India Supreme Court for compensation.