BackgroundWe assessed the health effects of hexavalent chromium groundwater contamination (from tanneries and chrome sulfate manufacturing) in Kanpur, India.
MethodsThe health status of residents living in areas with high Cr (VI) groundwater contamination (N = 186) were compared to residents with similar social and demographic features living in communities having no elevated Cr (VI) levels (N = 230). Subjects were recruited at health camps in both the areas. Health status was evaluated with health questionnaires, spirometry and blood hematology measures. Cr (VI) was measured in groundwater samples by diphenylcarbazide reagent method.
ResultsResidents from communities with known Cr (VI) contamination had more self-reports of digestive and dermatological disorders and hematological abnormalities. GI distress was reported in 39.2% vs. 17.2% males (AOR = 3.1) and 39.3% vs. 21% females (AOR = 2.44); skin abnormalities in 24.5% vs. 9.2% males (AOR = 3.48) and 25% vs. 4.9% females (AOR = 6.57). Residents from affected communities had greater RBCs (among 30.7% males and 46.1% females), lower MCVs (among 62.8% males) and less platelets (among 68% males and 72% females) than matched controls. There were no differences in leucocytes count and spirometry parameters.
ConclusionsLiving in communities with Cr (VI) groundwater is associated with gastrointestinal and dermatological complaints and abnormal hematological function. Limitations of this study include small sample size and the lack of long term follow-up.
SUBMITTER: Sharma P