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Researchers: India’s Groundwater Widely Contaminated With Uranium

According to the researchers, several studies have linked exposure of uranium in drinking water may lead to chronic kidney disease

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Researchers: India's Groundwater Widely Contaminated With Uranium
Researchers: India's Groundwater Widely Contaminated With Uranium. (IANS)

Researchers have found widespread uranium contamination in groundwater from aquifers in 16 Indian states.

The findings suggested that the main source of the uranium contamination is natural, but human factors such as groundwater-table decline, over-exploitation of groundwater for agricultural irrigation and nitrate pollution may be aggravating the problem.

According to the researchers, several studies have linked exposure of uranium in drinking water may lead to chronic kidney disease.

“Nearly a third of all water wells we tested in one state, Rajasthan, contained uranium levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking water standards,” said co-author Avner Vengosh from the Duke University in US.

Representational image.
Representational image.

“By analyzing previous water quality studies, we also identified aquifers contaminated with similarly high levels of uranium in 26 other districts in northwestern India and nine districts in southern or southeastern India,” Vengosh added.For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the researchers sampled water from 324 wells in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat to analyze the water chemistry.

In a subset of samples, they measured the uranium isotope ratios. They also analyzed similar data from 68 previous studies of groundwater geochemistry in Rajasthan, Gujarat and 14 other Indian states.

Also Read: Can Water Be Harmful For You?

“The results of this study strongly suggest there is a need to revise current water-quality monitoring programmes in India and re-evaluate human health risks in areas of high uranium prevalence,” Vengosh said.

“Developing effective remediation technologies and preventive management practices should also be a priority,” Vengosh noted. (IANS)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

Also Read- Push-ups Can Lower The Risk of Heart Diseases

Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)