Presence of hexavalent chromium: UP Pollution Control Board to undertake detailed groundwater samplingUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 23:04 IST
The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) on Thursday said it will carry out detailed sampling after four (out of 14) samples of groundwater collected from Raj Nagar residential area tested positive for presence of high levels of Hexavalent Chromium.
Hexavalent chromium is a toxic form of the element chromium. Hexavalent chromium compounds are man-made and widely used in many different industries. Breathing in high levels of hexavalent chromium can cause irritation to the nose and throat. Symptoms may include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itching and a burning sensation. In some cases, it may also cause lung cancer.
According to World Health Organization, exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs through breathing, ingestion, and contact. Although most of the known health impacts are related to inhalation, there is now strong data linking ingestion of hexavalent chromium through drinking water leading to severe health effects.
In addition to cancer and reproductive harm, short and long-term exposures can lead to eye and respiratory irritation, asthma attacks, nasal ulcers, dermal burns, anaemia, acute gastroenteritis, vertigo, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, convulsions, ulcers, and damage or failure of the liver and kidneys.
The residents of Sector 2 and 3 in Raj Nagar had got tested groundwater samples in private laboratory and found high levels of hexavalent chromium. Later, teams of UPPCB on January 29 and collected 14 samples from residential sectors and nearby industrial area. Four of fourteen samples tested at a government laboratory at Lucknow were found positive for presence of hexavalent chromium beyond permissible limits.
“We also tested the 14 samples at our laboratory and found that the same four samples tested positive in our results too. Apart from this, we took up 15 samples from nearby households but they did not test positive. So, we suspect that hexavalent chromium is present but not in large scale. We are now taking up a detailed sampling of different residential sectors,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer of the UPPCB.
“The sampling will be completed within a week and after tests we will be able to know whether the extent of prevalence of hexavalent chromium is random or largely prevalent. IIT-Madras has already taken up a study in nearby locality of Lohiya Nagar. We recommend that the same agency takes up hydrogeological survey of Raj Nagar as well,” he added.
The officials said that till 2005, chemicals were dumped on ground or released in open drains by several industrial units in nearby industrial area.
The nearby Lohiya Nagar also has high levels of presence of hexavalent chromium and a plant is already under operation for remediation.
According to officials, the two samples which failed in residential area have presence of .552 mg/litre and .415 mg/litre of hexavalent chromium, which far exceeds the .10 mg/litre of maximum permissible limit.
They added that the two water samples — collected from Sector 2 and 3 in Raj Nagar and tested in a private lab — were found positive for presence of hexavalent chromium in industrial area in latest tests by UPPCB indicated very high presence of around 13mg/litre against the permissible limit of .10mg/litre.