The present study was undertaken to study the occupational hazards and problems faced by the inhabitants residing in an around the screen-printing units of Jetpur. A descriptive research design was planned using survey method. Purposive sampling method in conjugation with snowball technique was adopted to select a sample of 50 printing units from Jetpur, sample also included 150 workers, 15 residents residing within one kilometres range of printing units and five doctors on the panel of textile association were interviewed for the corroboration of data.
The results highlighted the fact that detrimental work practices in the printing units without the use of protective clothing resulted in various types of physical, chemical, ergonomic and biological hazards. The major problems faced by the workers related to skin were itching, dry skin, cracks and pimple acne owing to the exposure of chemicals. Shoulder problems comprised of pain, stiffness, and tremors in hand and pain in elbow due to the activity performed and lower limb. Results also revealed that people residing near the units suffered from many physical problems such as headache, feeling of nausea and difficulty in breathing owing to the stagnant coloured water and overflow of the drainage pipes from printing units.
Printing of textiles is a very ancient art, which in modern times received considerable help from science and have shared in surge forward of technology. The English word Printing was coined in the 18th century and is derived from a Latin word meaning:
Impression being similarly derived. 1
Decoration of textiles though is in vogue from earliest times but India has a long-standing tradition of dyeing and printing. India is one of the countries where the art of textile printing has been practiced since ages and brought to perfection. Printed and patterned cottons are considered to be a specialty of this place. In India exuberant patterns in surface design abound. The special quality of printed fabric, fast nature of dyes and the ability to respond with alacrity and sensitivity to meet the growing demands for new designs and patterns ensured the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West-Bengal as the foremost centre for producing the printed textiles fabrics fully enriched with multitude of designs reflecting the vitality of Indian people are created by a variety of printing techniques.
Textile printing in earlier times was practiced by the use of eco- friendly products. The soft delicacy and harmony of natural colors that formerly characterized Indian fabrics have given place to brilliant tints produced by synthetic dyes. Indian dyers and printers found the imported synthetic dyes cheaper to use mainly due to simplified process of application, ease in getting them in standard forms and greater variety of shades with good wash fastness. On the contrary, the liquid waste discharged after printing contained highly toxic dyes, bleaching agents, salts, acids and alkalis. Heavy metals cadmium, copper, zinc, chromium, iron etc. are also found in dye effluents. Poor health, safety and waste management practices may pose serious health hazards to textile workers as they are exposed to such conditions with no control over the length and frequency of exposure2.