Dangerous Spices: Why India’s Cooking Powders Lead to Poisoning Global Development

AIn the southern Indian city of Ellora, more than 560 people, mostly children, were hospitalized after a mysterious outbreak in two days in early December, much to the surprise of doctors. Symptoms were described as epilepsy, with burning and vomiting, burning eyes, and loss of consciousness.

Recovery was quick, even though one person was diagnosed with the disease. The cove epidemic is circulating among theories that it is caused by excessive disinfection of chlorine or washing of vegetables. Local traders saw a decline in sales.

Last week, the Andhra Pradesh state government announced that based on preliminary results from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NERI), pesticide residues in water Are the “root cause” of Who studied blood samples from patients. Ames also reported heavy metal content in local milk, while Neri found dangerous levels of mercury in surface water.

It has become a political front – with the opposition party in the state demanding a full inquiry. But seed poisoning is a long-standing public health problem in India.

A Study this year UNICEF and the non-governmental organization Pure Earth documented childhood lead poisoning. “In the data collected over the last 15 years, we have found that India has been the hardest hit,” said Richard Fuller, founder of Pure Earth. And the problem often comes from an unexpected source. Indian spices and curry powder.

Dr. Epsita Mazumdar is a Professor of Biochemistry at KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata and has been studying the effects of lead poisoning from food powders since 2014.

Over a period of three months, Muzamdar experimented with some of the country’s most popular spices – pepper, cumin, curry powder, hot spices and chat spices. He tested 52 samples of turmeric, estimating branded and packaged varieties, as well as loose powders sold by street vendors in Kolkata.

He got the upper hand in all of them.

The reason, he found out, was that the color of the food was contaminated with sesame compounds. To brighten its golden color, lead chromate was added to turmeric and lead oxide gave the pepper powders a full red color. Other spices, including curry powder, hot and chat spices, contain small amounts of lead, but not as high as turmeric and pepper.

“Keep in mind that the harmful effects of lead exposure increase over time and that these spices are used in homes every day and all over India.” “Unlike other sources of lead contamination that have been identified, such as automobile lanes, household pens and pipes, this is a hidden threat. We are not yet fully aware of the full extent of this problem.

Lead exposure can be especially harmful for children under five, who are absorbed 4-5 times more toxic than any source Compared to adults and, as a result, can suffer long-term physical, cognitive and neurological damage. Exposure to lead during pregnancy also affects the baby’s development and their ability to see, hear and learn.

In urban areas, improper processing of lead-acid car batteries releases toxic materials into the ground, Filler says.

India manufactures 30 million cars a year The fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Acid batteries last about four years before being recycled, often in the backyards of Indian cities and in the scrap metal business, which is a major health hazard. “The automobile industry is booming, but most of the recycling of lead-acid batteries is in the hands of small scrap dealers who don’t have the resources to handle them safely,” says Fuller.

Pure Earth has identified more than 700 potentially toxic sites in India, of which 225 are estimated. Of these, lead was the most polluted, affecting soil and water sources.

Filler says India’s high Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 28 of a reason one of the reasons batteries find these scrap dealers in the first place. “The informal sector is under radar, but GST has resulted in higher operating costs for large manufacturers. If GST is abolished, lead acid batteries will be implemented with larger plants and more safety.

India’s largest lead poisoning study was conducted in 1995 George Foundation (now Shanti BhavanWhich tested the blood of 15,000 children and 5,000 adults. “We found that lead growth is a major barrier to growth, affecting more than 50 per cent of Indian children before puberty,” said Ajit George, director of operations for the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project.

The study found that blood pressure levels doubled in half of the under-12s, which the World Health Organization attributed to symptoms. Decreased intelligence, behavioral difficulties and learning difficulties.

Although there is no “safe” lead exposure, especially in children, as the level increases, so does the severity of the problems.

The 25-year-old study set new rules for the transfer of petrol to Indian oil corporations and is now aimed at eliminating lead paints. But there are still other dangers that have not been addressed, George says.

“In rural India, high quality lead was found in kitchen utensils, aluminum cookware molds and ceramic glazes. It will always be difficult to keep small scale industries regular,” he said.

Surveillance is key to avoiding catastrophic consequences, but greater awareness is needed to deal with all sources of pollution.

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