Poor labour conditions

The cashew industry is generally not well known for fair labor conditions, in particular personal safety. In the raw cashew nut shell, there is a acid liquid that is damaging to the skin. In our process, we shell, peel and clean the cashew nut kernel and the liquid is removed, so to make sure it is not consumed.

Protecting workers’ safety

During shelling, the liquid is released, which, if not properly protected, it damages workers’ hands. But, at Nuts2, we’re implementing measures to protect workers’ personal safety.

Caustic liquid, burning the skin

The Guardian reported: “During the deshelling process the nuts produce a caustic liquid that burns the skin. In some cases, hand protection is available, such as alkaline pot ash to counteract the acid; alternatively, some women bandage their hands. In some factories, rubber gloves are available, but in many instances workers have to pay for them and not everyone can afford it.” (The Guardian Nov 2013)

How to protect workers?

In our factories, manual shellers are using castor oil, as a protective layer against the CashewNutShellLiquid (CNSL). Every fifteen minutes hands are “washed” in castor oil. Simple and effective. This is how it’s done:

 

What is castor oil (wikipedia)?

The castor oil plant (the source of castor oil) is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India. However, today it is widespread throughout tropical regions. In areas with a suitable climate, castor establishes itself easily where it can become an invasive plant and can often be found on wasteland. Uses are diverse. For example, castor oil is said to be an effective motor lubricant and has been used in internal combustion engines, suc as those of World War I airplanes, some racing cars and some model airplanes. Also, it has historically been popular for lubricating two-stroke engines. This is because of the high resistance to heat compared to petroleum-based oils.