Beware! Fish from polluted ponds can give you diabetes

  • Subhash Mishra, Hindustan Times, Dhanbad
  • Updated: Nov 28, 2015 14:11 IST
Fishermen taking out small fish from a net in Dhanbad on Friday. (Bijay/HT photo)

People eating fish grown in polluted ponds run the risk of being affected by diabetes, according to a study conducted by the Diabetes and Heart Research Centre (DHRC) in Dhanbad.

“Fish from polluted ponds contain organochlorine compounds that disrupt beta cell function and enhance the tendency to be diabetic. Since most of ponds in cities of the state are polluted, eating fish has become a diabetes risk factor,” the research said.

A beta cell stores and releases insulin, a hormone that brings about effects which reduce blood glucose concentration.

Organochlorine compounds are chemicals which disrupt the hormone balance of an animal.

As domestic waste is dumped in most ponds in the cities, dioxins (toxic compounds) and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) get accumulated in them. Fish growing in polluted water cause bioaccumulation in human tissues when one eats them, the research said.

Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of substances such as pesticides or other chemicals in an organism.

“The study suggests that exposure to dioxin and POPs through fish may lead to a risk factor for diabetes in humans. Dioxins induce disorders in body while POPs in blood vessels promote dyslipidemia. All these factors have emerged as reasons behind rising cases of diabetes,” said Dr NK Singh, DHRC director.

Dyslipidemia is an abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. cholesterol and fat) in the blood. Prolonged elevation of insulin levels can also lead to dyslipidemia.

The DHRC study found the water of Bada Talab in Ranchi, Bekarbandh Talab in Dhanbad, Mitha Talab in Hazaribagh and Lal Pokhar in Dumka most polluted in the state. Fish from these ponds are considered high-risk factors for diabetes.

Fish from Budhwa Mahadeo Talab and Khajani Talab in Hazaribagh, Rani Tatala, Khokhan Talab and Pampu Talab in Dhanbad as well as Baxi Talab in Dumka were also found unfit for consumption.

The study found fish in Jamshedpur city-based ponds safe for eating.

“Fish of rivers, ponds and water bodies in rural areas of the state are safe to eat,” said Singh.

“Since the ratio of diabetes cases is alarming in the state, the health department should conduct tests of pond waters in cities under the Food Safety Standard Act (FSSA) in the interest of people,” he said.

Around one million people suffer from diabetes in Jharkhand and 1.5 million from pre-diabetic disorder, according to a recent survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The prevalence of diabetes is found higher in urban areas -- 13 people in 100 -- compared to rural areas.

The disease currently affects more than 62 million Indians. An estimate shows that nearly 1 million Indians die due to diabetes every year.

The state pollution control board had conducted tests on water samples from ponds in cities when RN Kashyap was an acting member secretary. “The reports were negative,” Kashyap told HT on Friday.

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