Focus: GS-III Science and Technology
Why in news?
- At least 550 people have fallen sick in Eluru town of Andhra Pradesh had fallen sick following an undiagnosed illness.
- Officials of the other teams which collected from the patients in Eluru found the presence of nickel and lead elements in the blood samples.
- More investigations should be done to find out the reasons for the situation.
- Doctors treating the patients said all the victims were admitted with similar complaints and are suffering with common symptoms.
- If the density of the toxins were high, it would have affected the neurological system.
Heavy metals contaminating Indian rivers
- A Central Water Commission (CWC) report on heavy metals contaminating Indian rivers shows that samples from two-thirds of the water quality stations spanning India’s major rivers are contaminated by one or more heavy metals, exceeding safe limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
- Arsenic and zinc are the two toxic metals whose concentration is always found within the limits.
- Other major contaminants found in the samples were lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium and copper.
- The main sources of heavy metal pollution are mining, milling, plating and surface finishing industries that discharge a variety of toxic metals into the environment.
- The presence of metals in drinking water to some extent is unavoidable and certain metals, in trace amounts, are required for good health.
- However, when present above safe limits, they are associated with a range of disorders.
- Lead poisoning is a type of metal poisoning caused by lead in the body.
- Symptoms may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, irritability, memory problems, inability to have children, and tingling in the hands and feet.
- It causes almost 10% of intellectual disability of otherwise unknown cause and can result in behavioral problems.
- Exposure to lead can occur by contaminated air, water, dust, food, or consumer products.
- Children are at greater risk as they are more likely to put objects in their mouth such as those that contain lead paint and absorb a greater proportion of the lead that they eat.
-Source: The Hindu