Delhi markets Vegetables contain toxic metals: Study Reveals: As per to a new study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), the vegetables grown on the Yamuna floodplain have been found to have high amounts of lead, which, on long intake, may possibly cause a range of diseases, such as cancer, damage organs and much more.
These vegetables are not just sold out locally in small markets but it has beensupplied to large wholesale mandis such as the ones in Azadpur, Ghazipur as well as Okhla and are also further distributed to be sold at weekly markets and also by the local vendors all over the city, with the maximum concentration being in east Delhi however an exact area-wise sales break-up is not accessible.
“Lead poisoning can lead to mental retardation in children. This is a serious issue and the authorities should immediately take action,” said Manoj Misra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.
The maximum amount of lead contamination was basically found in coriander which was collected from east Delhi’s Geeta Colony. Apart from cabbage, lead levels were found to be more than the standard in all vegetables which were collected from vendors, with the maximum amount was found in spinach (14.1 mg/kg).
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has already set the safe limit for lead in vegetables to be at 2.5mg/kg by the amount of the metal identified in vegetable samples collected from the floodplain ranges from 2.8mg/kg to 13.8mg/kg.
SK Goyal, who is the senior principal scientist and head of NEERI, Delhi, said: “Samples of at least seven types of winter vegetables were collected from three different locations — Usmanpur, Mayur Vihar and Geeta Colony. They were tested for lead, mercury, nickel and cadmium. The level of lead in all the samples was found to be higher than Indian permissible limits. The level of other metals in the vegetables was within the limits,”
A research institute under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), NEERI, held this study in February 2019.
Following a Hindustan Times report on February 4, the NGT-appointed committee had asked the NEERI to undertake the study.
SK Goyal further said, “The source of lead could be industries dealing in automobile parts, batteries, paint and polythene. Various kinds of usage of lead-based compounds may also be potential sources,”
Dalbir Singh, vice-president of the Delhi Peasants Multi-purpose Society said: “Vegetables are regularly tested by the IARI (Indian Agricultural Research Institute) in Pusa and we have grown up eating these vegetables. We would consult the IARI scientists to find a solution to this problem. Vegetables grown close to the river (within 100m) could be toxic. But we are not sure where the lead is coming from,”
Heavy-metal toxicity is very harmful for human body, it can lower the energy levels along with damaging the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidneys, as well as liver. Not only this, they are also capable of damaging the blood composition and other important organs in human body. And the long-term exposure to these metals may possibly even lead to cancer, says the study.