We have been working on the issue of food safety and environmental toxins for a long time. Being a public interest institution, our job is to research and report as well as to act as a watchdog on policy makers and the regulatory system in the country. We have set up a state-of-the-art independent laboratory to do research which we use to bring about changes in laws and regulations.
Today, India is in a precarious situation. We not only have a relatively higher burden of disease (17 percent of the world's population but 21 per cent of the global disease burden) but also a dual burden of disease. On one hand, communicable diseases still kill and make infirm a large number of people, on the other hand the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasing every day with the increased impact of toxins in our food and environment. NCDs now account for more than half of the total burden of disease and more than 40 per cent of all deaths in the country. We, therefore, have to take proactive measures to improve our food habits and limit the toxins we are exposed to.
No measure will be effective until backed by an aware and a conscious public. The purpose of this quarterly newsletter is, therefore, to build a community of stakeholders, who can push for better governance in the field of food safety and environment health.
In this first issue of the newsletter by CSE's food safety and toxin team, we are focusing on persistent organochlorine pesticide endosulfan, on which an interim ban has been imposed by the Supreme Court. For last 10 years, CSE has been working on Endosulfan issue – doing research, writing about it and supporting community actions in Kerala and Karnataka. In fact, the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory of CSE did the first lab study on endosulfan in Kerala in 2001.
CSE study along with several other studies has proved beyond doubt that Endosulfan is the cause of a high incidence of diseases in places like Kasaragod. We know that the pesticide industry will fight tooth and nail and use all dirty tactics in the book to try revoke the ban. But we too will keep working on this issue and keep you informed about developments from time to time.
It goes without saying that we would love to have your advice and comment on the newsletter. We also look forward to research and story ideas from your side. Through this newsletter let’s connect and create a vibrant community.