Ex-Mercury workers protest death of their co-worker; demand HLL to accept liability

Kodaikanal/ Chennai: More than 500 residents, mostly ex-workers of a Hindustan Lever mercury thermometer factory in Kodaikanal staged a ‘salai marial’ (road blockade) at Moonjikal, Kodaikanal, today protesting the death of 47-year old P. Natarajan, an ex-worker of the factory. Ex-workers said numerous workers were exposed to toxic mercury because of unsafe working conditions and the failure of the factory management to inform workers about the dangers of toxic metal. Mercury is a nerve poison that can cause subtle- to severe long-term effects, including kidney damage, even at very low concentrations. Agitated ex-workers have demanded a post-mortem on the body to assess the possibility of mercury-induced damage.