BAHAWALPUR: Deaths from poisoning through Kala Pathar are on the rise here particularly in rural areas. Kala Pathar -- known by its chemical name of Paraphenylenediamine – is widely used in permanent hair dyes.

Dr Aamir Bokhari, director of accident and emergency ward at Bahawal Victoria Hospital (BVH), said such cases were reported in the ward almost daily with many of the patients succumbing to the poison.

Quoting figures from the emergency ward, Dr Bokhari told Dawn that during 2016 out of the total 703 patients admitted due to swallowing of Kala Pathar, 150 had died. Till April this year, 67 people had died out of the 434 brought to the BVH emergency ward for various reasons; 33 of the 155 admitted to the ward in March and 14 out of 107 admitted in April had died from poisoning through Kala Pathar.

He said the chemical was inexpensive and could cause accidental, suicidal or homicidal death. Extensive damage to mouth, throat and stomach was possible as the outcome depended on the extent of harm. He said the damage could continue to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison was swallowed or administered to someone for poisoning. He suggested that quicker and urgent medical aid could lead to chances of recovery.

Dr Bokhari said that the increasing trend of Kala Pathar poisoning among youths in south Punjab had created an alarming situation. Patients affected by the chemical usually died of renal failure, multi-organ failure and cardiogenic shocks. The sale of this chemical should be checked to ensure it was not used for suicidal or homicidal purposes and the government.

DECLAMATION: Winners of a provincial-level declamation contest were awarded cash prizes on Tuesday.

Punjab Minister for Cooperatives Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channar gave away Rs200,000 to Hafiz Muhammad Akbar of Government Sadiq Dane High School, who secured first position in the Urdu declamation contest and Rs100,000 to Asif Amin of Daanish School, Rahim Yar Khan who stood third in the English contest at a ceremony held at the school here on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2017

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