New Delhi: It sounds scary - but the fact is that you may be wearing clothing covered with cancer-causing dyes, especially if you are a jeans lover! Yes, you heard it right!
As per a report in TOI, residents at Delhi's Mustafabad town believe that the use of toxic chemicals to dye jeans by the denim dying units in Shiv Vihar in northeast Delhi is responsible for the abnormal rate of cancer in the locality.
Considering the case of Alok Rathore, a 16-year-old class VIII student living in the same locality, the link between cancer and dyes even got suspicious. It is said that the student had to have his right hand severed to prevent a cancer from spreading.
Although no study has been conducted yet in this northeast area, people living in the locality trace the origin of the abnormal rate of cancer to toxic chemicals used by the denim dyeing units, the TOI report added.
One possible reason is that since residents depend on borewells, it is quite likely that the acids, dyes and untreated effluents leaked into the drain, which flow into the groundwater eventually.
According to oncologist PK Julka, former professor at the department of radiotherapy and oncology in AIIMS, aniline dyes are indeed known to cause cancers.
"In Mustafabad, there is no proof yet that seepage into groundwater is behind these problems," he was quoted as saying by TOI.
He said the authorities must immediately order a detailed survey and carry out a scientific study of cancer incidence and causes.
The TOI report added that it had detected two deaths and eight suspected tumour cases in the two lanes of Shiv Vihar Phase 10 alone, and teenager Rathore who no longer goes to school is one of them.
It said that two others living in the same lane have died in the past couple of months. While one had been diagnosed with blood cancer, the other succumbed to throat cancer.
Criticising the government for failing to provide water to the localities in Mustafabad, including Shiv Vihar, Akash Sharma, whose grandfather also died of cancer, said, “the water tankers do come, but they cannot provide enough water for such a large population”.
Not aware of the possible health hazard of dyes, the dyeing units operate in tin sheds and temporary housings in Shiv Vihar, using bamboo scaffoldings to hold up hundreds of blue jeans to dry as a pungent smell hangs in the air and gutters run inky blue.
“Chances are most of the jeans available at Sunday bazars in Delhi have gone via Mustafabad,” said 22-year-old Naushad, a dyer at a jeans unit in Shiv Vihar, with pride.
While most of us are being careful when it comes to eating habit, the case of Mustafabad gives a chilling thought to wonder whether the shirt or trouser you're wearing right now might contain deadly chemicals.