‘Sale of formaldehyde must be checked’

After being hit by reports of the presence of formaldehyde in a few fish, fishermen want the sale of the substance to be controlled.

Only institutions that really require it, including hospitals and schools, should have access to it, the fishermen said.

K. Bharathi of the South Indian Fishermen Association said the sale of chemicals that were purported to be used in “preservation” of fish should be regulated so that they are not misused.

“Not just the livelihood of fishermen, but also that of the women who sell the fish in markets and carry them door-to-door, is being affected. The government must take steps to prevent use of chemical preservatives in fish, which is considered a safe and healthy food by a vast population,” he said.

Meanwhile, fishermen said though there was news about samples being lifted and tests done, no action was taken on anyone. “Local fishermen would never indulge in such activities. Even if fish from other States are contaminated, fishermen here have to bear the brunt,” said V. Kumar, a fisherman of Kasimedu.

Chemical Industries Association secretary N.S. Venkataraman said that it would not be possible to ban or curtail the sale of formaldehyde.

“At one point of time, when people were using acid to attack others, residents called for restricting its sale. It could not be done,” he said.

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