KOCHI: Be safe this Vishu by avoiding crackers containing chlorates. Celebrate Vishu with high intensity crackers made of potassium chlorate or any other chlorate, and you could land in a big mess.
Police squads are on the lookout for crackers with chlorate content after state police chief Loknath Behera came out with strict directions to act against those violating rules. Though the direction is specifically for public fireworks display, police teams will collect samples from all firework shops to check for chlorate content.
“District/Police authorities shall collect samples of fireworks from the premises of manufacturers and submit the same to the regional chemical examiner’s laboratory at Ernakulam well in advance to be tested for potassium chlorate or any other chlorate. Fireworks containing chlorate or prohibited chemicals shall not be used for public display,” a directive issued by the state police chief said. Ernakulam Additional District Magistrate (ADM) M K Kabeer said special squads will conduct checks to ascertain whether shops are selling chlorate-based crackers. According to chemical experts, it is really dangerous to use firecrackers with chlorate content.
“Crackers with potassium chlorate may look colourful but the risk of high intensity explosion is high in such crackers,” said Elizabeth Kuruvilla, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, St Teresa’s College.
She said the chlorates are highly oxidising and they liberate very high temperatures. “Crackers with sulphur and chlorate explode with high intensity. Moreover, manufacturers use chlorates because they are cheap,” she said. Experts also point out the use of potassium chlorate in fireworks has been banned in India since 1992. As per a government notification, the use of the chemical is permitted only in small quantities under specific circumstances.
Why is Potassium Chlorate dangerous and hazardous?
Crackers with high sulphur and potassium chlorate content cause high levels of pollution. High sulphur content produces toxic oxides of sulphur resulting in eye irritation and respiratory distress. Prolonged exposure can lead to bronchitis, and affect the kidneys and the nervous system.
Why are makers using chlorates?
Apart from being cheap, crackers with chlorate content burn brighter, attracting customers.State police chief Loknath Behera has come out with strict directions to act against those violating rulesExperts say the use of potassium chlorate in fireworks has been banned in India since