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Study on the Health Status of Indigenous People Around Jadugoda Uranium Mines in India- Dr. Shakeel ur Rahman

Study on the Health Status of Indigenous People Around Jadugoda Uranium Mines in India- Dr. Shakeel ur Rahman

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Published by paceminterris
The life expectancy of people living near uranium mining operations area is less; as a result more people are dying in their early ages in villages around uranium mining operation area.
The life expectancy of people living near uranium mining operations area is less; as a result more people are dying in their early ages in villages around uranium mining operation area.

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Published by: paceminterris on May 14, 2013
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08/16/2013

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Dr. Shakeel ur RahmanIndian Doctors for Peace and Develoment1
STUDY ON HEALTH STATUS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLEAROUND JADUGODA URANIUM MINES IN INDIA
Executive Summary
Introduction
A descriptive cross-sectional study on indigenous people living in villages around Jadugoda uraniummines in East Singhbhum district of India was conducted by Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD)with the objective to find out their health status in respect to selected health variables. We assumed thatspecific health problems related to uranium mining was affecting the indigenous people disproportionately in thestudy villages as compared to reference villages. The report provides information on fertility related issues likeinfertility, still birth, abortion & birth with congenital deformities, congenital deformity as cause of death inchildren, chronic lung diseases, cancer as cause of death and life expectancy.
Context
All mining operations have related occupational health and safety hazards. Uranium mines presentanother hazard to workers and to members of the public. That is, a radiation hazard. There are three types ofexposure paths in the surrounding of uranium mine.1.
 
Uranium mining and milling operations produce dust and gas (Radon) having radioisotopesthat are inhaled by miners and deliver an internal radiation.2.
 
Through the ingestion of uranium series radioisotopes transported in surface watersdischarged from the mine delivering an internal radiation.3.
 
The gamma-ray exposure by approaching tailing ponds or mine-tailings
1
.In addition to radiological hazards, uranium and its progenies also present chemical hazards. With[Zamora1998], for the first time, a study on the effects of chronic ingestion of uranium with drinking water
on humans
is available. It finds that kidney function is affected by uranium uptakes considered safe in thepublications based on animal
 
studies
.
The study concludes
-
"The present investigation suggests that long-termingestion of uranium by humans may produce interference with kidney function at the elevated levels of uraniumfound in some groundwater supplies." "These observed effects may represent a manifestation of sub clinicaltoxicity which will not necessarily lead to kidney failure or overt illness. It may, however, be the first step in aspectrum which with the chronic intake of elevated levels of uranium may lead to progressive or irreversiblerenal injury"
2
.In another study with people who consumed drinking water with elevated uranium concentrations[Kurttio2005], the same authors found some indication that, in addition to kidneys, bone may be another targetof chemical toxicity of uranium in humans
3
.The effects of radiation may occur in both exposed individuals and their offspring through effects onthe exposed individual’s germ cells. The effects are classified as either deterministic or stochastic. Tissues withactively dividing cells are particularly sensitive to ionizing radiation. Bone marrow, gonads, gastrointestinalmucosa, lenses of the eyes, lung and central nervous systems, skin and thyroid are commonly effected organs
4
.
Biologic effects of radiation are both somatic and genetic. Leukaemia, carcinogenesis, foetaldevelopment anomalies and shortening of life are somatic effects and chromosome mutations are geneticeffects of radiation
5
.
 
Dr. Shakeel ur RahmanIndian Doctors for Peace and Develoment2
Methodology
The study was conducted in five revenue villages around uranium mines, tailings ponds and oreprocessing plant that is functioning for the last four decades under the aegis of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd.(UCIL) and is under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). The indigenous peopleliving in these villages are mostly from Santal, Munda and Ho tribes
6
. The study villages fell under Potka andMusabani CD blocks and were within 0 to 2.5 kilometers of uranium mines/tailings ponds/mill.The investigators collected information from all the 2118 households falling under these five revenuevillages during May-June 2007. 14 villages in Potka CD block with similar ethnic distribution and 30-35kilometers away from mining activities were selected as reference villages
7
.The investigators also gatheredinformation from all the 1904 households falling under reference villages.A structured questionnaire was developed with valuable inputs from Department of Preventive andSocial Medicine, Patna Medical College Hospital, Patna and was introduced on the heads of the families of eachhousehold by a team of investigators, each comprising of a male and a female. The investigators, 34 in number,were men and women from the vicinity of Jadugoda and were imparted classroom and field training by a teamof doctors from IDPD. Two supervisors from IDPD monitored the investigator teams through out the period ofdata collection.The supervisors and the investigators used to facilitate freewheeling Focused Group Discussion (FGD)with villagers in each village at the end of data collection.Responses to some of the variables in few of the interview schedules were not found to besatisfactory and such responses were not considered for data analysis. The data generated were entered inMicrosoft Excel software. The data was analysed and then Z- score, P- value and odds ratio were calculated tomeasure the significance of the results. The study restricts itself to those findings which were statisticallysignificant at p < 0.05.
Background Characteristics of the Study Population
The total population of the study villages is 9511, of which 51.3% (N=4881) are males and 48.7%(N=4630) are females. The proportion of people over 40 years of age in study villages is 19.8% (N=1887).Whereas the total population of the reference villages is 8490 with 49.6% (N=4211) being males and rest50.4% (N=4279) being females. The proportion of people over 40 years of age in reference villages is 20.8%(N=1762).More than one-third (38.8%) of the respondents in study villages but nearly two-thirds (59.8%) of therespondents from reference villages are illiterate.The income category of the respondents reveals that 34% in study villages and a meager 3% inreference villages are earning more than Rupees five thousand a month (Fig 1).
 
Dr. Shakeel ur RahmanIndian Doctors for Peace and Develoment3
66%97%34%3%< 5000> 5000
Profile of respondents (income wise), in INR
Study villageControl Village
Fig 1
Nearly half (46%) of the respondents in the study villages are engaged with uranium mining, with morethan two-thirds (68%) of them working as mine worker, rest being mill worker (23%), contract worker (7%) andtruck drivers (2%). None of the respondents from reference villages are engaged with uranium mining.
The Findings
The findings of the study show the following:
Congenital Deformities
The investigation shows that babies from mothers, who lived near uranium mining operation area,suffered a significant increase in congenital deformities. While 4.49% mothers living in the study villagesreported that children with congenital deformities were born to them, only 2.49% mothers in reference villagesfell under this category (Fig 2). It shows an odds ratio of 1.84. The difference is highly significant (at p <0.05).The result confirms a similar investigation performed at the Shiprock, New Mexico, uranium mine thatshowed that mothers suffered a significant increase in birth defects by a factor of 1.83
8
.
 
Distribution of Congenital deformities among children
4.40%2.40%
0.00% 0.50% 1.00% 1.50% 2.00% 2.50% 3.00% 3.50% 4.00% 4.50% 5.00%
Study villageControl village
Fig 2The Ministry of Social Justice, Government of India stipulates that the people with disabilitiesconstitute 3% of the total population. The Government of India has several criteria for defining disabilities;congenital deformities are only one of them
9
. The study when seen in this background reveals that the peoplewith disabilities in the study villages is significantly more than the all India average.Moreover, increased number of children in the study villages is dying due to congenital deformities.Out of mothers who have lost their children after birth, 9.25% mothers in the study villages reported congenital

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