Plastic packaged drinking water, wax coated cups hazardous for human health: We The Human

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Jammu, Nov 26: Captain Lalit Sharma, IFS and Secretary Technical of We The Human, Monday, exhorted J&KPCB and J&K Food Safety Organization authorities to attend a serious issue wherein shopkeepers and road side vendors keep packaged plastic drinking water bottles in open outside shops & on road for selling purpose, which are directly exposed to sunlight and is very hazardous for human health. This becomes duty of the J&K Pollution Control Board authorities and Food Safety Department to seize such plastic drinking water bottles, directly exposed to sunlight, apart from checking the quality of the water being supplied in all such packaged plastic drinking water bottles. One may visit & witness the same outside GMC Hospital, SMGS, District Hospitals Sarwal & Gandhi Nagar, Narwal Mandi, Transport Yard, Satwari, SICOP Industrial Estates Gangyal, SIDCO B D Bari and other such areas in Jammu. Perhaps, J&KPCB and Food Safety field staff officers do not have time to check this serious aberration.
Apart from harmful chemicals in plastic, water when get stored in plastic bottles, directly exposed to sunlight, also produces harmful substances like fluoride, arsenic and aluminum which can be poison for human body. So, drinking water from such poor quality or directly exposed to sunlight plastic bottles would mean drinking slow poison that will slowly and steadily deteriorate your health.
Captain Lalit Sharma further said that in this fast age of Information Technology, even, a common man, today, knows that it is harmful to have anything “hot” in a thin plastic cup. The reason for this is obvious: plastic as a material (unless it is of a very high micron quality or mixed with another material) will “melt” when exposed to heat or in this case, hot liquids. And, this is really surprising that few road side hot tea vendors serve hot tea to their customers, mostly from poor or middle class, in such thin plastic cups. When hot tea or coffee is poured in paper cup, wax melts and mixes with liquid when consumed. Disposable wax coated paper cups are also popular with pantries, hawkers, public gatherings and private parties. If one sips tea or coffee from a disposable paper cup, he also ingests some wax. All paper cups have a thin coating of wax on their inner surface to prevent them from disintegrating upon contact with a liquid. When a hot liquid is poured into such a cup, the wax gradually melts and mixes with it.
Experts say that the acid in the stomach usually flushes out whatever wax is consumed; however, if large amounts of it are ingested, it may accumulate and cause an obstruction in the intestines. Plastic cups are said to be more dangerous than wax-coated paper cups because they release polymers into the hot liquid.
“A thin coat of wax is sprayed during the manufacturing process. Polythene and paraffin are used to uphold the durability of the product by obstructing the paper from absorbing the liquid. There are defined guidelines for the preparation of paper cups – the thickness of the wax layer should be minimal, and when the product is soaked in water, it should not release any toxic liquid. However, most manufacturers ignore the standards and products reach retailers without clearing quality checks,” says a scientist from the Polymers and Functional Materials Division of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.
Quoting Dr B. Prabhakar, a Gastroenterologist, Captain Lalit Sharma said that, the wax on cups gives them a shiny, clean look, just like that the wax that fruit vendors use on apples. Wax is insoluble, and if consumed in large quantities, it can get accumulated and may cause bloating, fullness and gas. Depositions of wax can remain in the stomach and cause an obstruction in the intestines. But these medical conditions are only experienced when there is an extremely high intake of wax. Our body can discard minor amounts; however, its ingestion over a long-term can become a problem.
Captain Sharma urged upon the authorities to exercise requisite checks and take necessary measures to address the growing menace which is detrimental for the human health at large.