Bengaluru vegetables contaminated with heavy metals, study warns

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Researchers at the Environment Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) found that vegetables in Bengaluru are contaminated with heavy metals due to the use of wastewater for irrigation. They analyzed 400 samples of 10 different vegetables from various locations, including supermarkets, local markets, and organic stores. The levels of contamination exceeded the permissible limits set by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for most of the vegetables tested.

For example, brinjal samples from organic stores had iron concentrations of 810.20 mg/kg, while the permissible limit is 425.5 mg/kg. Beans from supermarkets had 12.20 mg/kg of lead, which is significantly higher than the recommended limit of 0.3 mg/kg. Cadmium levels in brinjal samples from supermarkets also exceeded the permissible limit of 0.2 mg/kg, reaching a staggering 52.30 mg/kg.

The researchers warned that consuming contaminated vegetables can lead to serious health problems, such as liver and lung toxicity, impaired immune system function, and cancer. They urged the government to discourage the use of wastewater for irrigation and to promote ethical and safe farming practices. They also called for a broader investigation to trace the sources of contaminated vegetables, establish specific maximum limits for each vegetable and exposure duration, and examine the impact of vegetable consumption on different age groups.

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