Bengaluru outskirts have high levels of radioactive radon in groundwater
He said studies on waste water of reverse osmosis (RO) has found to be having high content of Uranium and has been a matter of concern.
BENGALURU: Researchers who gathered in a training programme on “Health in a Changing Climate: Empowering health professionals” at the Indian Institute of Science brought to light the high radon content in groundwater used for drinking in some areas in the outskirts of Bengaluru. This radon emanates from radioactive granites. Radon when ingested over an extended period can increase the risk of lung cancer.
According to experts, radon derives naturally from uranium through radioactive decay to radium and radon.
Radon is found to be 50 to 100 times the permissible limit of 11.1 Bq per litre as per initial studies by the researchers. This finding has drawn increased attention to the study of radon in drinking water.
As radon comes naturally from uranium, the researchers realised uranium content could be high too. They found high content of uranium in groundwater, in some part in the outskirts of Bengaluru, including Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Chintamani and Pavagada.
Researchers said the level of uranium is found to be up to 300 micrograms per litre in the water against the permissible limit of 60 micrograms per litre, in some parts of city outskirts. In Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Chintamani it ranges from 5000-6000 micrograms per litre. “The measure of radon is being studied as it is a matter of concern,” the reaearcher said.
Radon in the air is not a major matter of concern if the area is well-ventilated. It should not accumulate indoors, said Prof R Srinivasan, from Divecha Centre for Climate Change (DCCC), IISc. He was speaking to The New Indian Express on the sidelines of the first day of the two-day-long training programme.
Radon in air, and uranium in water can cause cancer of lungs and kidneys.
The presence of radon in air and water leads to damage of lung tissues, threatening cancer of the lungs while the presence of uranium affects the urinary tract leading to kidney cancer.
No further studies on radon: Officials
Dr. H. Paramesh, World Health Organization Consultant and Professor at DCCC also confirmed that initial studies have found uranium in some places at Chikkaballapur to be 1000, against the permitted levels of 30-60 micrograms per litre.
Interestingly while some officials at Groundwater Board, now retired had studied the presence of Radon in water, present working officials admitted that they have not taken up further studies on it.
Srinivasan said attention was also being paid on how to dispose off waste water after treatment as it also has high content of uranium.
He said studies on the wastewater of reverse osmosis (RO) units have found high content of Uranium and has been a matter of concern.
Researchers also said that uranium comes from minerals like pitchblende, zircon, monazite among others in the rocks of the region.