Many washing and dyeing plants in Narayanganj are marketing toxic salt in the name of table salt putting the health of the consumers at great risk.
Many of such companies localized in Narayanganj, which are associated with the garments industry business, are said to be importing industrial salt widely known as Glauber’s salt (Sodium Sulfate) used for washing and dyeing cloths.
It is alleged say that many such plant owners are involved in mixing cheap quality toxic industrial salt with the common salt to make a quick profit.
In 2019 the authorities concerned had unearthed such illegal business and suspended their business activities. However, after a few months they had started the illegal business again as it fetches huge profit.
The same year an executive magistrate Jahangir Alam, led a mobile court against the washing and dyeing plants surrounding Nitaiganj and had fined Narayanganj Salt IndustriesTaka 30 thousand while Ali Salt Industries taka10 thousand . The court also seized some salt as a specimen from Shahe Madina Salt Industries and two other plants for testing in the BSTI lab.
Edible salt is scientifically known as Sodium Chloride or NaCl that is marketed for human consumption only. On the other hand, Sodium Sulphate is used for washing and dyeing clothes in plants.
It is alleged that about 20 licensed salt traders in Nitaiganj and the surrounding areas are involved in marketing harmful Sodium Sulphate instead of common table salt (Sodium Chloride) as sodium sulphate is much cheaper and tastes almost the same.
Ramprashad Shaha, a chemistry teacher of the state-owned Tolaram College told Bangladesh Post, “We generally use five kinds of salt such as Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulphate, Sodium Bromide and Sodium Iodide. Of them, only Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is edible salt and others are used for different purposes.”
When contacted, Poritosh Shaha, owner of Pubali Salt Industries, told this correspondent, “My company is highly reputed and we have no involvement in illegal salt trading. In fact, I had informed local journalists about such illegal salt marketing but no one cared.”
Other local washing and dyeing plant owners and salt businessmen - Fatu Mia, owner of Kashipur Salt, KomolShaha, owner of Quality Salt Factory and Dilip Roy, owner of Shahe Madina Salt claimed that they never got involved in such illegal and harmful salt marketing business. They also claimed that all of them had BSTI certification which assures consumers of quality products.
The washing and dyeing industries use salt widely known as Glauber’s salt. It has an annual demand of 3.83 lakh tonnes, but last year the businessmen imported 14,40, 758 lakh tonnes, BSCIC sources claimed.
It is widely alleged that most of the salt industries which imported Glauber’s salt have made packets and marketed those as common table salt.
Nitaiganj trader’s Association President Abdul Kadir admitted that the illegal salt business is taking place saying that the authorities concerned have no supervision
Narayanganj district civil surgeon Dr Imtiaz Ahmed while giving his opinion said that if such toxic salt is consumed for long there are serious health effects, including possible damage of kidney, liver and other organs.