Study finds tox­ins in tooth­pastes

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

A re­cent study by Tox­ics Link, an en­vi­ron­men­tal NGO, found tri­closan, an en­docrine dis­rupt­ing chem­i­cal, in 72.8 per cent of sam­ples of two items of ev­ery­day use it tested in Delhi to de­ter­mine the lev­els of the an­ti­fun­gal-an­tibac­te­rial agent present in them. Tri­closan can lead to liver prob­lems, de­pres­sion and can­cer, and is be­ing phased out in sev­eral coun­tries.

As part of the study, 11 sam­ples each of tooth­paste and soap were ran­domly col­lected from dif­fer­ent mar­kets in Delhi and sent to the Shri­ram In­sti­tute for In­dus­trial Re­search. The anal­y­sis found one soap sam­ple and four tooth­paste sam­ples con­tain­ing the chem­i­cal beyond the per­mis­si­ble limit of 3,000 ppm pre­scribed by the Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards.

The study said that all per­sonal care prod­ucts seemed to con­tain from 0.1 per cent to 0.3 per cent of tri­closan. Dis­turbingly, most of this got washed down the drain and ended up in the en­vi­ron­ment chain. The chem­i­cal is found in high con­cen­tra­tions in treated sewage sludge as well, which gets used in agri­cul­ture as a fer­tiliser, in turn af­fect­ing plants and wildlife.

Mis­lead­ing ads: Celebri­ties and com­pa­nies are equally re­spon­si­ble

Celebri­ties en­dors­ing con­sumer goods and ser­vices may face the risk of be­ing jailed in case of false or mis­lead­ing claims if the new con­sumer pro­tec­tion law is cleared in the present shape. The fresh draft of the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill pre­pared by the leg­isla­tive depart­ment of the law min­istry makes no dis­tinc­tion be­tween man­u­fac­tures or ser­vice providers and celebri­ties when it comes to pun­ish­ment for mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tise­ments.

“Who­ever makes an en­dorse­ment which is false or mis­lead­ing and prej­u­di­cial to the in­ter­est of any con­sumer shall be pun­ish­able with im­pris­on­ment for a term which may ex­tend to two years and with fine which may ex­tend to ten lakh ru­pees; and for the sec­ond and sub­se­quent of­fences, be pun­ish­able with im­pris­on­ment for a term which may ex­tend to five years and fine which may ex­tend to fifty lakh ru­pees,” reads the of­fi­cial amend­ment to the Bill ini­tially in­tro­duced in the Lok Sabha on 10 Au­gust 2015.

The govern­ment has in­tro­duced the pro­vi­sion tak­ing into ac­count a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee re­port which, among other rec­om­men­da­tions, had sug­gested fix­ing of li­a­bil­ity on brand en­dorsers or celebri­ties. In­ter­est­ingly, the same pun­ish­ment is pro­vided for any manufacturer or ser­vice provider “who causes a false or mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tise­ment to be made, which is prej­u­di­cial to the in­ter­est of any con­sumer.”

While it may al­ready be too harsh to pro­vide for jail term for celebri­ties who en­dorse prod­ucts or ser­vices for fixed mon­e­tary con­sid­er­a­tions rather than prof­i­teer­ing, the draft­ing seems to have made the pro­vi­sion harsher than one may think. It leaves no op­tion to pun­ish a celebrity only with fine or with im­pris­on­ment. In­stead of pro­vid­ing for im­pris­on­ment ‘and’ fine, the drafters would have pro­vided for im­pris­on­ment ‘and/or’ fine if the in­ten­tion was to con­fer dis­cre­tion on point of sen­tence. Gen­er­ally a pe­nal law pro­vides for im­pris­on­ment or fine or both as pun­ish­ment.

The amend­ments to the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill, 2015 – which will now be pre­sented as Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill, 2016 – have made a se­ries of changes to pro­vide for fix­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity on celebri­ties who could be used by man­u­fac­tur­ers and ser­vice providers for mak­ing money by cheat­ing con­sumers.

En­dorse­ment un­der Sec­tion 17B means “any mes­sage, ver­bal state­ment, demon­stra­tion” or de­pic­tion of the name, sig­na­ture, like­ness or other iden­ti­fy­ing per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics of an in­di­vid­ual or the name or seal of an or­ga­ni­za­tion “which make the con­sumer to be­lieve that it re­flects the opin­ion, find­ings or ex­pe­ri­ence of the per­son mak­ing such en­dorse­ment.”

While rec­om­mend­ing fix­ing of re­spon­si­bil­ity, the Par­lia­men­tary panel had noted: “The con­sumers tend to be­lieve such ad­ver­tise­ments pro­moted by em­i­nent per­son­al­i­ties or celebri­ties blindly. How­ever, when the un­fair trade prac­tices are ex­posed, the celebri­ties are quick to dis­as­so­ci­ate them­selves with the prod­ucts/com­pa­nies they were hith­erto rep­re­sent­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.