“The high levels of nickel and cadmium are known for inducing carcinogenic effects in humans through inhalation"

Features Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 05:30
Biswajeet Banerjee | The News Minute | June 10, 2014 | 9:29 AM IST  The Assessment of Ambient Air Quality of Lucknow during pre-monsoon, a report released by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) has shown the presence of nickel in Lucknow air which scientists at the IITR say is a cause of concern. The pre-monsoon report was released by the Institute on Monday. The metal concentration recorded in ug per cubic metre has shown that Aliganj records 34 ug per cubic metre while Vikasnagar has recorded 39, Indiranagar 63, Gomtinagar 47, Charbagh 36, Alambagh 35, Aminabad 64, Chowk 30 and Amausi 41. The standard is 20 ug per cubic metre of nickel. Dr SC Burman, who heads the team said its is a cause of concern as values were above the standard of 20 ug per cubic metre. But he also pointed out that the Ministry of Environment had not given any standard for 24-hour nickel concentration. “The standard that has been given is from the monitoring of 104 days in a year. But the ministry has not given any value of a 24-hour standard for nickel. Hence the values which have been monitored may be more or less at a particular place during different time intervals,” he said. Talking about the health hazards posed by this metal, he said that exposure to it in the long run could cause cancer. “The high levels of nickel and cadmium are known for inducing carcinogenic effects in humans through inhalation,” he said. The study has pointed out that the concentration of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide was below the permissible limits but there were several reports which said that the gaseous pollutants were related with respiratory diseases and added that vehicular and nitrogen dioxide were associated with a significantly higher risk of cancer. Regarding the presence of particulate matter, the report said that there were several health hazards associated with it. It has shown high levels of particulate matter, PM 10, at all the places which were measured by it for finding out its presence. The report states that human exposure to the particulate matter has been identified as a risk factor for human mortality and morbidity related to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, especially among the susceptible individuals and people with pre-existing heart and lung diseases and that many countries have revised the limits for PM10. PM threshold levels to which exposure leads to adverse effects on human health have not yet been clearly identified and there is a substantial inter-individual variability in exposure and in response and it is difficult to establish a standard or guideline value that will lead to a complete protection of every individual against all possible adverse effects of particulate matter. The present study suggests that it is necessary to monitor the air quality as well as the health effects at regular intervals at strategic locations.The report points out that the continuous rise in population due to urban activities along with the lack of suitable measures for air pollution control means that there is a possibility that conditions may worsen in the Indian cities in future. It also states that Lucknow has been suffering from pollution for the past two decades and adds that in the last two decades the rapid urbanisation and industrialisation has been catalysing the problems. An IITR study pointed out that the use of different types of fuels like gasoline, diesel, LPG and CNG made the environment more complex as far as air quality and their synergetic effects on human health were concerned. Overall continuous accumulation of different types of pollutants and the human beings exposure to it needed urgent attention of the policy makers, researchers and regulatory agencies, it said.

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