Poisoned food

People in Pakistan are consuming vegetables contaminated with heavy metals, says a study

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

thousands of people living in cities in Pakistan are consuming vegetables contaminated with heavy metals, says a study conducted by the department of soil science at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

In the cities, vegetables are cultivated on land irrigated with city effluents, which have excessive quantities of metal ions. In many countries, including Pakistan, industries dispose off their untreated metal-rich effluents into city drains, the study notes.

A large number of samples of the effluents, soil and vegetables were collected from several sites for the study. The vegetables that were analysed were spinach, cauliflower, pumpkin and egg plant. Chromium and cadmium, which were chosen as indicator metals, were found in concentrations higher than the permissible limit in the effluent samples. The effluent had an average cadmium concentration of 0.02 milligramme per litre (mg/l), which is exactly double the permissible limit in irrigation water (0.01 mg/l). The concentration of chromium in the effluent was 0.97 mg/l, almost 10 times the limit of 0.10 mg/l.

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