Occupational Health 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

CEARCH (Center for Education, Awareness and Research on Chemicals and Health) is a nongovernmental organization, registered under The Societies Act. The organization is the brainchild of Dr. Aruna Dewan, a medical toxicologist, who established the First Poison Information Center in Gujarat at the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad.

In the post independence era, India has achieved remarkable all-round progress and is expected to be at par with developed countries in the coming two decades. Rapid industrialization, urbanization and chemical-intensive agriculture have been a part of this process. An average Indian citizen is encountering a host of chemicals on a daily basis, without even being aware of them. Ignorant and illiterate rural masses use pesticides indiscriminately, whereas the urban population is exposed to toxic chemicals through industrial and vehicular pollution. Several chemicals are used in the manufacture of cosmetics, exposing the youth – a segment enthralled to these products through aggressive marketing tactics – to the effects of these harmful chemicals. Many of the so-called ‘herbal preparations’ also contain highly toxic contaminants. Industrial discharges are contaminating groundwater supplies meant for domestic consumption.

Many of these chemicals may seem harmless due to no immediate or visible ill effects, but can be very dangerous to health in the long term. Some chemicals are known to cause cancer, neurobehavioral problems and reproductive disorders. Moreover, the repercussions of these diseases may be visible only in the next generation. Children are more susceptible to chemicals and need to be given immediate protection.

Developed countries are taking stringent regulatory action to prevent the exposure of toxic chemicals, and the public in these countries is by and large well informed. In some countries, parents have already switched to chemical-free organic foods for their children. India, by virtue of its large size, exploding population and lack of basic facilities, faces a dual challenge, where chemical toxicants have added to the burden of existing diseases caused by infectious agents. India needs to promote safe practices related to chemical use. There is a dire need to educate the people of this country on the ill-effects of chemicals so that they can make informed choices. Simultaneously, medical personnel need to be educated on the management of chemical-related emergencies. CEARCH has been established to fulfill this need.

CEARCH has also joined hands with the UNIPATH SPECIALITY LAB (a well known multi-specialty and premier Clinical Reference Laboratory) since 2014 to strengthen its capabilities.

   
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