In an article published on June 13, 2015 in the digital edition of the newspaper The Times of India, journalist Bella Jaisinghani reports on a Mumbay-based NGO named Watchdog Foundation that aims to ban plastic bottles for packaging. Watchdog had carried out tests on soft drink, water and cough syrup bottles and found heavy metals present at concentrations far beyond permissible limits. Excess amounts of heavy metals can cause kidney damage, respiratory problems, cancer, stroke and heart problems as well as spontaneous abortions, Jaisinghani writes. The contaminated bottles belong to leading brands and have a wide consumer base. According to Nicholas Almeida of Watchdog, the tested bottles exhibited chromium levels of 5.6-9.1 mg/kg and one sample had a lead concentration of 0.4 mg/kg. However, the permissible limits for chromium and lead as defined by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) are 0.05 mg/kg and 0.01 mg/kg, respectively. At high outdoor temperatures, plastic bottles are prone to leaching and can contaminate the liquid content, Almeida explains. Watchdog have approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Dehli seeking a ban on plastic bottles used as packaging. The NGO had contacted the Food & Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) already in March 2015. FSSAI replied to say that they would look into the matter only after a recent controversy around Maggi noodles found to have elevated lead levels, said Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog.

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Bella Jaisinghani (June 13, 2015). “NGO seeks ban on plastic bottles for packaging, says they pose health risks.The Times of India