Salt farm worker susceptible to hypertension

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

as per a study, workers employed in Indian salt farms are prone to hypertension with their injuries and skin ulcers leading to sub-skin absorption of salt. Excessive consumption of common salt (sodium chloride) is a known cause of acute hypertension.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Jodhpur-based Desert Medicine Research Centre and Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Occupational Health in three salt manufacturing units of Rajasthan. After Gujarat, Rajasthan is India's second largest producer of salt from brine (subsoil water rich in salt).

Out of the 900 workers examined, 218 were singled out, as they were working in saltpans where the brine is left for drying up under sunlight. The saltpan workers have their feet and lower limbs submerged in the brine for four to eight hours per day. Most of them do not wear gumboots or take any other safety measures while working. As a result, their skin is often damaged by sharp salt crystals, which are formed at the bottom of the pan when the water evaporates.

The 218 workers were subjected to continuous medical check-up for 15 days; 34 were found to have ulcers or injuries on their feet. More than 15 per cent of them were suffering from hypertension, the researchers state in the October 25, 2004 issue of the journal Current Science. The high incidence of hypertension was recorded among all age groups: 20-29, 30-39 and 40-49.

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