Rejecting claims made by Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) about school text books printed on synthetic paper, Assistant Commissioner General of the Educational Publications Department I.M.K.B. Ilangasinghe said the new text books did not cause health hazards.
GMOA’s Assistant Secretary Haritha Aluthge today claimed that the Education Ministry had distributed synthetic paper text books among students causing health hazards to children below 12 years of age.
He claimed the Education Ministry had printed more than 500,000 Geography text books at a cost of Rs.150 million to be used by grade seven students without considering the recommendations of the National Planning Department (NPD).
Mr. Ilangasinghe told the Daily Mirror, the Education Ministry had printed Polypropylene material books under the certificate of a doctor appointed by the Health Ministry and the Environmental Authority.
“The doctor had confirmed the synthetic paper text books were not harmful to children. The papers were imported from Japan under the SGS Certification. SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity,” he said.
SGS Certification confirms that a product does not contain any heavy metal that is harmful to children’s health.
“Even the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) has given the same certificate,” he said.
“The ink that is used to print the books is not toxic, therefore it is not hazardous even if a child occidentally consumed it. All the pages are fully laminated. Therefore, the books will not be damaged by water,” Mr. Ilangasinghe said.
He said the books could be used for five years. The usual textbooks that are given to school children cannot be used more than one year.
The Education Ministry distributed 500,000 books to school children as a pilot project since January this year.
He said so far no complaints have been received by the Ministry except for the GMOA.
“The claims made by the GMOA are false and baseless,” he said. (Chaturanga Pradeep)