Published:  02:27 AM, 18 July 2017

Toxic salt is a health threat

Despite the ban on import, severe harmful chemical-mixed toxic salt is being imported and marketed in the country deceiving the eyes of concerned law enforcers.  Some dishonest influential businessmen are importing the toxic salt from different countries including China through Chittagong sea port and marketing it as food salt causing serious health threat to the consumers.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Depart-ment recently came to know such information after seizing around 2,000 tons of such harmful chemical-mixed toxic salt from Chittagong sea port.

Acting on a tip off, a team of Customs Intelli-gence and Investigation Department conducted a drive at Chittagong sea port recently and temporarily seized the said amount of toxic salt, estimated worth at around Tk 3.19 crore, imported by M/s Azmir Trading Corpo-ration and M/s Asha Enterprice of Khatunganj in Chittagong.

The intelligence seized the sodium chloride along with sodium sulfate, while the importers tried to release the goods through their recruited agents. Customs Intelligence gathered samples from the unauthorized salt consignment (Chalan) and sent them to the chemical lab of  Chittagong Customs House for forensic test. At the preliminary stage of the test, existence of unexpected proportion of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate was found.

To be more sure, the samples lastly were sent to concerned lab of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Department of Dhaka University. In the test report, existence of 91.5 per cent sodium chloride, 7.5 per cent sodium sulfate and 1.0 per cent moisturizer that are seriously harmful for the health of human being was found, the lab authorities claimed.

According to the lab test report, the Customs Intelligence authorities came to know that the importers exactly imported the chemical-mixed salt in the name of consumable salt for supplying to the country's markets.  Pharmacy specialists said, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate are harmful for human bodies. These are mainly used for detergent production and at different industries as drying agents.

"If it enters into a human body as food salt or in any other means, it may cause kidney failure and damage lever. Besides, it may be cause of serious health injuries for children and pregnant women," said Gajendranath Mahato, RMO of Dhaka Shishu Hospital. 
Dr Moinul Khan, Director General (DG) of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Department, said, "Sodium chloride import is totally banned as per the Import Policy Order 2015-2018. However, despite the government ban, a section of unscrupulous businessmen have been carrying out the business of such salt mixed with toxic chemicals. They have been importing the goods in the name of sodium sulfate that is serious harmful for the health of human being."

He further said, some 3,000 tons of sodium chloride were unloaded from the Chittagong sea port a few days ago in the same process evading the eyes of law enforcers. Thus, the businessmen are supplying the toxic salt to the market as food salt.

Illiterate and low-income group of people are eating the chemical mixed toxic salt as consumable salt due to its cheaper rate and lack of proper knowledge on its bad effects.

Experts say, if necessary steps to stop such illegal trade are not taken right now, it may be cause of serious health hazard for a huge number of people.

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