VIJAYAWADA: Experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and other premier research institutes who were roped in to ascertain the reasons for the mystery illness in Eluru, surmised organochlorine as its cause.
They also said pesticides could be the reason for the presence of organochlorine and it might have entered the human body in the process of food cycle. AIIMS experts said their tests showed lead in the blood of patients and nickel in all the milk samples collected from Eluru.
Lead was also found in the blood samples taken from the relatives of the patients and an in depth study in this regard is needed. They, however, maintained that the exact reason for the illness can be known only after analysing the samples of food, drinking water and vegetables for a few months. They also felt the need to geo tag the samples to analyse the reason for the unknown illness.
AIIMS experts submitted their study analysis to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who held a video conference with them on Wednesday. Experts from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and other Central institutes also participated in the conference.
Jagan said that AIIMS and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) should conduct a long term study to ascertain the exact reason for the outbreak of the illness. He directed Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney to prepare an action plan for it.
IICT experts said they collected water samples from 21 places in Eluru, apart from blood samples. "There are no traces of heavy metals in the water samples. No pesticide residue was found in them. We have analysed the water samples more than once and came to this conclusion," they said, adding that endosulfan was traced in blood samples.
Lead was found in some blood samples, but there was no traces of organophosphates, they said.
NEERI experts said they conducted tests on air pollution in Eluru and it was in permissible limits. However, the results of underground and surface water samples showed that all metals are in permissible limits except for mercury.
"Concentration of mercury is high in underground water when compared to surface water and it could be due to solid waste burning. However, there were no traces of organochlorine, organophosphate or lead in the water samples," they said.
Experts from AIIMS Mangalagiri said a study should be conducted at other places in the State in view of Eluru illness. They also felt the need for conducting a study as to how the pesticides entered the human body.
After going through their findings, Jagan said, “All types of tests should be conducted so that incidents like Eluru would not recur. Officials should focus on scientific disposal of waste in West Godavari district to curb environmental pollution.’’ He instructed them to test drinking water samples from all sources in all the districts. The samples should be collected and analysed systematically. Based on the findings, necessary corrective measures should be taken, he said.
Public health labs should be strengthened in all the districts, he said, adding that there is a plan to set up three State level labs.Organic farming should be promoted in a big way. An awareness in this regard should be created among farmers by Rythu Bharosa Kendras. The Agriculture Department should ensure withdrawal of banned and harmful pesticides from the market, he said.