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Pesticides industry slams CSE report, says colas harmless to humans

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 25 (UNI) The Indian pesticides industry today slammed the ''inconclusive'' report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and said the quantum of pesticides found in Pepsi and Coca Cola is absolutely harmless to human beings.

''All chemicals, including pesticides, are harmless when used in recommended dosages. The story of poison is the story of dosage, which makes the devil,'' Chairman - Emeritus Crop Care Federation of India Sahil Singhal told reporters here.

He said the cola controversy has put the entire focus on the pesticide industry, which has unnecessarily been dragged into this issue.

''It is the pesticides which have come into the line of fire, while the whole issue really lies between the government and the cola companies,''he said.

Debunking the delhi-based non-profit organisation's findings which claimed that the aerated drinks conatined pesticide residues well above the permissible limit, Mr Singhal said the industry has introduced new molucules which are effective against targeting pests at low dosages. These molecules undergo about 75 laboratory and field tests as to their impact on environment and human health at a cost of Rs 800-1,000 crore.

''CSE's baseless and unsubstantial claim has just created confusion and panic in the minds of the people and is maligning the pesticide industry. The report does not specify at what dosages and over what period the tiny toxins present in pesticides affect the human body,'' he said.

Expressing concern that the cola-issue may adversely affect the Rs 6,000 crore pesticide industry, he said the core issue to be addressed is to make the public aware of scientific truth, something that was junked by CSE.

Citing examples of recommended dosages, he said even Aspirin or Vitamin B tablets become fatal when more than 25 are consumed in a day. Similarly, common salt can be lethal in excess so can coffee or tea.

The advances in Science enable us to detect residues particle per billion (PPB) which is equivalent to 1 cm in 10 kms he said adding, the permissible maximum residue level is jointly prescribed by the central Agriculture and Health Ministry.

Speaking about the standards that need to be set, he said, standards in raw materials already exist. There are standards on cereals, fruits, vegetables. However, it was not a bad idea to put standards on finished products in India, something that does not exist as yet.'' He further said that in India, the WHO methodology of setting standards is followed. ''There is a well-defined WHO format to which the Government of India is signatory, under which different residual levels are permissible in different countries for different products, depending on food habits.'' UNI RA/CS YA VV1720

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