High levels of mercury have been detected in the environment and bodies of people in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

“The study, which was initiated after some residents of Sonbhadra approached the CSE in May last year, reflects signs of mercury poisoning among the people,” Director General Sunita Narain told reporters while releasing the study here.

She said people from the district had approached them to study pollution and health problems in their locality.

Deputy Director General, CSE, Chandra Bhushan, said samples of water, soil, cereals, fish as well as blood, nails and hair of people living in the district were collected for the survey at CSE’s pollution monitoring laboratory.

“The area selected for the study was Dhudi sub-division, which has the largest concentration of thermal power plants, coal mines and other polluting agencies,” he said.

The samples were tested for presence of mercury and other heavy metals such as arsenic, while fish were tested for methyl mercury, the most poisonous form of mercury, he said.

(This article was published on October 19, 2012)
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