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Beware of Holi colours

Mercury is one of the most dangerous environmental pollutants, both in its elemental form and in chemical combination. When mercury is released into the environment it gets transformed into methyl mercury through microbial action. The methylation of mercury is a key step in the entrance of mercury into food chains. This methyl mercury is mercury in its most pernicious form.

Surge In Import Of

nuclear energy Private players? Private players may soon be allowed entry into nuclear energy production. Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said as much minutes before he went in to deliberate on the draft Integrated Energy Policy with the plan panel. The law will, however, have to be amended to allow the private sector to set up nuclear plants, he added.

It took a much-publicised Greenpeace agitation in 2005 two years to achieve its desired result - make Wipro Infotech come out with a range of eco-friendly desktops in June 2007. Unfortunately, it will need a more sustained movement to curb the growing electronic waste menace- which is bound to gain momentum following the 2% reduction in the mean central value-added tax rate on all IT products announced in the latest Union budget, as more people dump their old desktops for newer versions. "Sales of desktops are likely to go up 15-20% because of rising demand. Unless corrective measures are taken, the e-waste problem is going to become more serious,' Vinnie Mehta, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology (MAIT), said. "It's high time India had proper guidelines in place on disposal of ewaste,' Greenpeace toxics campaigner Ramapati Kumar said. Currently, many companies either dump their e-waste in the garbage bin or sell it to local scrap dealers. A large quantity of desktops sold in India use hazardous chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which makes it more necessary that these products are disposed safely.

At least 115 Panamanians died after drinking toxic cough syrup in 2006, investigators said on Thursday, as the slow probe into the health disaster turned up more cases. Jose Oro, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Affairs, said recent clinical tests had shown at least 115 people died after taking cough syrup that was adulterated with diethylene glycol, a poisonous substance normally used in engine coolant. The Chinese-made toxin was mistaken for a sweetener by government drug manufacturers, who made low-cost medicines for Panama's poorest people. Investigators previously estimated the drug had killed 94 people, mainly from kidney failure or related ailments. Investigations are only slowly turning up new cases because of the number of people involved. Only around 20 percent of the 763 people tested to date have actually shown traces of the deadly drug, according to a government study. (Reporting by Andrew Beatty, editing by Todd Eastham) REUTERS NEWS SERVICE