Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Uranium Toxicity in the State of Punjab
in North-Western India
Alok Srivastava , Friedhart Knolle , Frieder Hoyler , Ulrich W. Scherer ,
and Ewald Schnug
Lately there has been an increasing concern about uranium toxicity in some districts
of Punjab State located in the North Western part of India after the publication of a
report (Blaurock-Busch et al. 2010 ) which showed that the concentration of ura-
nium in hair and urine of children suffering from physical deformities, neurological
and mental disorder from Malwa region (Fig. 1 ) of Punjab State was manifold
higher than the reference ranges. A train which connects the affected region with the
nearby city of Bikaner which has a Cancer Hospital has been nicknamed as Cancer
Express due to the frenzy generated on account of uranium related toxicity.
A detailed study of ground water samples in Malwa (Kumar et al. 2011 ) using
fl uorescence spectrometry showed that concentration of uranium in subsurface
water samples from Malwa region ranged from 2 to 644 ppb with a mean of 73.1 ppb:
more than fi ve times higher than the permissible limit of 15 ppb prescribed by the
World Health Organization (WHO 2011 ). A study (Rohit 2012 ) carried out using
Total X-Ray Refl ection Spectrometry too reported that the concentration of uranium
in ground water samples obtained from Bathinda District in Malwa region varied
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