'Uranium making Punjab kids retarded'
June 14, 2010
BATHINDA: Confirming Punjab’s worst fear and The Times of India reports, a resounding document from Germany’s Microtrace Mineral Lab has revealed that hair samples of 80% of 149 neurologically disabled children, mainly from southern Malwa region, have high levels of uranium.
The report from a world-renowned laboratory also establishes the presence of dangerous heavy metals in water, questioning high use of chemicals to support state’s green revolution.
Presence of the radioactive element has strengthened doubts that depleted uranium (DU) used by American tanks in Iraq and Afghanistan travelled through air, reaching not just the region but Delhi as well. TOI was the first to report the suspected presence of uranium traces in the hair of kids undergoing treatment at Baba Farid Centre for Special Children.
"We had suspected arsenic exposure, instead over 80% of children and adult, many of whom are suffering from cerebral palsy and mental retardation, showed pathological levels for uranium," said Dr Carin Smit, a South African toxicologist who had sent samples to the German laboratory in March 2009.
With no apparent source of uranium in Punjab, Carin added, "We were not testing for the radioactive element but heavy metal toxicity, which results in ill-health and premature death."