Adverse reproductive and child health outcomes among people living near highly toxic waste water drains in Punjab, India.
ABSTRACT Environmental influence plays a major role in determining health status of individuals. Punjab has been reported as having a high degree of water pollution due to heavy metals from untreated industrial effluent discharge and high pesticide consumption in agriculture. The present study ascertained the association of heavy metal and pesticide exposure on reproductive and child health outcomes in Punjab, India.
A cross-sectional community-based survey was conducted in which 1904 women in reproductive age group and 1762 children below 12 years of age from 35 villages in three districts of Punjab were interviewed on a semistructured schedule for systemic and general health morbidities. Medical doctors conducted a clinical examination and review of records where relevant. Out of 35 study villages, 25 served as target (exposed) and 10 as non-target (less exposed or reference). Effluent, ground and surface water, fodder, vegetables and milk (bovine and human) samples were tested for chemical composition, heavy metals and pesticides.
Spontaneous abortion (20.6 per 1000 live births) and premature births (6.7 per 1000 live births) were significantly higher in area affected by heavy metal and pesticide pollution (p<0.05). Stillbirths were about five times higher as compared with a meta-analysis for South Asian countries. A larger proportion of children in target area were reported to have delayed milestones, language delay, blue line in the gums, mottling of teeth and gastrointestinal morbidities (p<0.05). Mercury was found in more than permissible limits (MPL) in 84.4% samples from the target area. Heptachlor, chlorpyriphos, beta-endosulfan, dimethoate and aldrin were found to be more than MPL in 23.9%, 21.7%, 19.6%, 6.5% and 6.5% ground water samples respectively.
Although no direct association could be established in this study, heavy metal and pesticide exposure may be potential risk factors for adverse reproductive and child health outcomes.
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ABSTRACT: Populations in Bolivian Amazonia are exposed to mercury contamination through fish ingestion. A group of 170 Amerindian women living along the banks of the Beni River were examined in order to detect any adverse effects on their health consistent with the toxic effects of mercury. The mercury content of the women's hair (H-Hg) was used as the bio-indicator of mercury exposure. The women answered a 24-h food recall questionnaire on the frequency of their fish consumption. They also underwent a clinical examination with their weight, stature, hemoglobin concentration in blood, and blood pressure being recorded. Significant relationships were found between fishing practices, the frequency of fish consumption and H-Hg levels with mercury contaminated women (H-Hg>5μg/g) being more likely to present neurological abnormalities (paresthesia, static and dynamic imbalance, poor motor coordination) than non-contaminated women. No relationship was found between blood pressure and mercury levels. Women with higher H-Hg reported more infant deaths than did women with lower levels. A logistic regression analysis which included socio-cultural traits, fish consumption habits and health characteristics was performed in order to determine the risks of contamination. Contaminated women were more likely to belong to those communities pursuing traditional fishing activities; moreover these women tended to be younger and frailer than other. They also exhibited mild neurological abnormalities and reported more infant deaths. These findings should stimulate local communities to take preventive actions directed towards the more "traditional" and vulnerable groups of population.International journal of hygiene and environmental health 11/2010; 213(6):458-64. · 2.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Environmental pollution is a product of urbanization and technology, and other attendant factors of population density, industrialization and mechanization that serve to provide the necessities of the population. For example, in cities of developing countries, the rural-urban migration activated by the search for increased incomes has resulted in the concentration of large populations in relatively small areas under poor conditions of sanitation. Traffic jams and the legendary ‘go-slow’ of automobiles are everyday occurrences in these cities. The impact of pollution in the vicinity of overcrowded cities and from industrial effluents and automobile exhausts has reached a disturbing magnitude and is arousing public awareness. At present, no enough data are available on the extent of environmental pollution because there are no agencies charged with the routine monitoring and protection of the environment. This chapter therefore focuses on the critical issues of heavy metals (HMs) pollution in rapidly developing nations. Once emitted from their sources, they have the property of accumulating in the environment for many years. They enter the human body through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal. They also can accumulate in the bodies of animals and humans before they even cause damage. However; HMs such as Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As), Manganese (Mn) Nickel (Ni), Chromium (Cr) and Mercury (Hg), are also metabolized in the body in a similar way to nutrient metals. Environmental exposure to HMs can occur through air, soil, drinking water and food stuff. The neurotoxic effects of exposure HMs in the environment, though insufficiently recognized, remains a topic of sub stantial current concern and interest as it could be considered an early endpoint for health effects induced by exposure to heavy metals.In addition, they can adversely affect the quality of life, and have broad health, social and economic implications. Special concern is directed to children as they are the most sensitive population exposed to environmental pollution in general and heavy metals in specific. Finally, the magnitude and potential severity of neurotoxicity problems make it imperative to direct researches towards preventive intervention, and focus on the development of new biomarkers for neurotoxicity at the individual and population levels with emphasis on health education about HMs exposure and their potential for neurotoxicity. The establishment of comprehensive monitoring systems and information gathering should be given priority by governments of the developing countries in the sub-region with support and encouragement from international agencies. KeywordsEnvironmental pollution-heavy metals-developing countries-mental disorders01/1970: pages 1-25;
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ABSTRACT: Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and social movements are often juxtaposed as two distinct modes of action within civil society. While NGOs are seen as being linked to the interests of donors and being composed primarily of middle-class professionals, social movements are presented as a more authentic expression of grassroots perspectives. While academic literature compares and contrasts these two forms of organisation in the abstract, there has been comparatively little research exploring how civil society actors themselves conceptualise the NGO/social movement dichotomy and how this influences their strategic decision making. The Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), working in the North Indian state of Punjab, is a useful case for exploring this issue. KVM is one of a growing number of groups working in the field of sustainable agriculture that has chosen to adopt a social movement model of organisation and distance itself from NGOs. The case helps illuminate how and why social movements differentiate themselves from NGOs and the challenges they face in doing so.Voluntas 01/2014; · 0.56 Impact Factor