The adulterated man in growing India

India’s GDP advanced 7.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015, up from a downwardly revised growth of 6.6 percent in the previous period supported by a strong expansion in manufacturing and services sectors. This is about ‘growing India.’

Now the other part of the caption – ‘The adulterated man. Please read the following excerpts taken from media, newspapers and published reports.

Toothpaste “Dental hygiene products that you and your family use every day may contain toxins that have been linked to cancer, blindness, and even death. Have you checked out the ingredients in your toothpaste or mouthwash lately? If not, go get your toothpaste right now and see if any of these ingredients are in your toothpaste

Just read the label on any major brand toothpaste or mouthwash. You’ll see they are loaded with dangerous toxins and chemicals such as sodium fluoride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and hydrated silica. All of these common ingredients have been found to be harmful to humans.”

(So what, India is growing – we have fancy cars which have keyless entry, button start, noiseless drive, alloy wheels, electronic OEMs, Leather upholstery, 150 BHP, 1600 CC, etc.) 

Milk “Beware, your daily glass of good health could actually be doing you harm. As much as 70% of milk samples picked up from the capital by a government agency failed to conform to standards.

Of the 71 samples randomly taken from Delhi for testing by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), 50 were found to be contaminated with glucose and skim milk powder (SMP), which is usually added to milk in the lean season to enhance volumes. Elsewhere in the 33 states and UTs study, milk was found adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, besides the age-old dilution with water. Across the country, 68.4% of the samples were found contaminated.”

(So what, India is growing – We have the best brands of mobile phones. We can buy phones ranging from Rs.3000 to 100000. We can download over 2 Lakh apps, data can be transmitted with lightning speed, 15 Megapixels camera, touch screen, aqua guard (!), etc.)

Tea “Be cautious! The tea you consume from a few shops may increase the risk of cancer in you as fabric dye is mixed with tea powder to give color. This was found when the health officials inspected tea shops and recovered the adulterated tea powder.”

(So what, India is growing – We have multistoried apartment complexes, full range of 5-star resort facilities at home! You have access control, temperature control, keyless entry, camera surveillance, auto controls to FMCG products, etc.)

Coffee, Dal, Peanuts, etc. “Beware, the tea or coffee powder that you use might be laced with colouring agents or additional chicory; cereals, and even packaged spices such as ‘Dhaniya’ powder or pepper powder might be adulterated with colouring agents and starch to make them look rich

The next time you are tempted to buy packed sprouted green peas from your neighbourhood vegetable vendor, think twice. They are invariably soaked in “malachite green,” a non-permitted colouring agent that is carcinogenic.”

(So what, we have world-class shopping malls, food courts, kids playareas, adventure sports, shop in shops, Mall in Mall, etc.)

Fruits and Vegetables “For many years, ethylene had been used as a fruit ripening agent, but nowadays ethane, calcium carbide and ethephon are commonly used for faster ripening. But inappropriate use of these chemicals to ripen fruits is associated with many health hazards.

Probably it’s time to take a closer look at what’s on your platter. Cypermethrin, heptachlor, quinalphos, aldrin, chlorodane, dichlorvas, cypermethrin — these banned pesticides could well be a part of your regular diet. Okras, leafy green cabbages and other vegetables, bananas or oranges and apples that you so relish may be overloaded with some of these harmful pesticides.

From the vegetable basket, brinjal tops the chart with the level of banned pesticide at 860% above legal limits, followed by cauliflower and cabbage. Wheat and rice too had these dangerous chemicals. While the level of aldrin in wheat is 21,890 times more than the permissible level, that of chlorfenvinphos in rice was measured at 1,324% above the allowed limit

Fresh colourful fruits and vegetables are a beautiful sight, commonly seen in this season of the year. Health consultants highly recommend fruits and salads in their prescriptions, and we take the best advantage of the availability of the range of variety in the markets. But how close we are to nature when we are consuming these fruits is a very big question mark. Fruits and vegetables are known to be possessing antioxidant and anti-ageing factors. If they are a source of harmful chemicals as well, then are we heading towards fitness or otherwise?”

(So what, we get canned juices, frozen food, cut vegetables, etc.)

Tablets and Drugs “With international and national reports alleging that India is home to the biggest fake-drug market, spurious and poor-quality drugs are two major causes of concern. In some reports, more than 25% of medicines available in India have been declared spurious or fake”.

(So what, India is growing – order through mobile apps. Your monthly basket will be at home!)

Cosmetics “Not pretty, but true. A new study by the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (DIPSAR) uncovers dreaded toxins and adulterants in lipsticks, kajal, talcum powders, hair colours, toothpaste and shampoos. At the Indian Institute of Toxicological Research (IITR) in Lucknow, ongoing tests show up traces of toxicity in cosmetics. The 21st-century woman uses as many as 515 chemicals every day. Her humble nail varnish contains up to 31 chemicals and her perfume, a whopping 400”.

(So what, we get fat pay cheques. Monthly salary upwards of Rs. 2 Lakhs)

Surgeries “Is surgery necessary? A city-based medical second opinion services centre has found an uncomfortable answer to this question that traumatizes every family whose member has been advised surgery. Almost 44% of the 12,500 patients for whom surgery was recommended were advised against it by their second opinion consultants”.

I am shell-shocked! “Smoking is injurious to health” is the warning we get to see in advertisements. I understand this. Anyway, I don’t smoke. “Smoking is banned in public places” Very good, this solves the problem of ‘passive smoking.’

But tell me, how to solve the problem of food adulteration? Can I cut a vegetable and run to the Lab to test it? Can I peel the banana and get it tested before eating? Before putting into the cooker, whom can I plead to check the quality of Dal?


A chemical man is born in India. The anatomy of Indians can be re-written as 60% contaminated water and the remaining as pesticides and chemicals coated muscles and bones!

First of all, are we serious about this issue? If so, why are we keeping quiet about it? Can’t this problem be addressed?

This brings me to some more unanswered questions, for example –

  • Are these items really adulterated? Or is this a systematic campaign by large companies to expand their reach in India, killing small timers? Or a campaign by one company against another?
  • Are these reports made to gain the attention of people? This may increase the viewership or readership.
  • Is it an organized model to get more patients? (a lobby by Pharma and healthcare industry) For that matter, hospitals are also commercial ventures subject to Return on Investment (ROI), targets and achievements (number of surgeries performed per month vis-a -vis in the previous month), market capitalization (more the patients, more the revenue and higher the market capitalization) and 5x or 10x return to investors!
  • We can see a multifold increase in cancer patients in India. Is adulteration one of the reasons? Or is there any ‘unknown’ theory of detection of diseases? I mean, whether the patients are real or created? Are the reports reliable? Remember –patients means money, Return on Investments!
  • Should we really worry about adulteration? Can we say ‘anyway, one day we will die – let’s eat and ‘

If adulteration is true, is it not a priority item to be resolved? Is Raje to Lalit, Sushma to Vadrais important than people’s health? Who is poisoning our food? Any angels from the west or the east doing this or our own kith and kin doing this for petty gain?  Can’t our government with the participation of citizens fix this issue, once for all?


Is this the growth we were wanting? Do you think this type of growth is enhancing our happiness? Is this what we pass on to the next gen? Our living is made up of contaminated water, polluted air, adulterated food and unwanted medicine.

You agree? Please leave your comments.


Thought for the day

Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.


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About B E Kumar Prasad

B E Kumar Prasad
He is a Practicing Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru, India. He has 25+ years of experience in income tax, business setup, and NRI matters. He is also an Insolvency Professional and Registered Valuer (F&SA).Prasad welcomes your comments and questions. Please email him at [email protected]

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2022 years ago

I think it’s time to pack the bag and head out of the city life. I would rather live in a village without the so called luxuries of life than live this way and die a premature death with my bones lined with toxic waste. We should uncomplicate our lives… from right now.

2022 years ago

I agree with your views..Media should focus on these type of things than the political news. When media highlights such things, people will start thinking about all this issues.

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