Papers/Publications: India

Articles from peer-reviewed journals from around the world on pollution and its effects on health, with particular focus on India.

Impact of current policies on future air quality and health outcomes in Delhi, India

Author: Hem H. Dholakia , Pallav Purohit , Shilpa Rao, Amit Garg

Date: April, 2013

Description: A key policy challenge in Indian megacities is to curb high concentrations of PM2.5 and mitigate asso- ciated adverse health impacts. Using the Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) model we carry out an integrated analysis of the air quality regulations across different sectors for the city of Delhi. Our findings show that PM2.5 concentrations for Delhi will not reach the recom- mended national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) even by 2030 under the current policies sce- nario. Adopting advanced control technologies reduces PM2.5 concentrations by about 60% and all-cause mortality by half in 2030. Climate change mitigation policies significantly reduce greenhouse gases, but have a modest impact on reducing PM2.5 concentrations. Stringent policies to control the net flow of air pollution from trans-boundary sources will play a crucial role in reducing pollution levels in Delhi city. Achieving NAAQS requires a stringent policy portfolio that combines advanced control technologies with a switch to cleaner fuels and the control of trans-boundary pollution.

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Short term association between air Pollution and mortality and modification by temperature in south Indian cities.

Date: September 2014

Description: Indian cities are among the most polluted areas globally, yet assessments of short term mortality impacts due to pollution have been limited. Furthermore, studies examining temperature e pollution in- teractions on mortality are largely absent. Addressing this gap remains important in providing research evidence to better link health outcomes and air quality standards for India. Daily all-cause mortality, temperature, humidity and particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10) data were collected for five cities e Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Shimla spanning 2005e2012. Poisson regres- sion models were developed to study short term impacts of PM10 as well as temperature e pollution interactions on daily all-cause mortality. We find that excess risk of mortality associated with a 10 mg/m3 PM10 increase is highest for Shimla (1.36%, 95% CI 1⁄4 0.38%e3.1%) and the least for Ahmedabad (0.16%, 95% CI 1⁄4 0.31%e0.62%). The corresponding values for Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai are 0.22% (0.04%e0.49%), 0.85% (0.06%e1.63%) and 0.2% (0.1%e0.3%) respectively. The relative health benefits of reducing pollution are higher for cleaner cities (Shimla) as opposed to dirtier cities (Mumbai). Overall we find that temperature and pollution interactions do not significantly impact mortality for the cities studied. This is one of the first multi-city studies that assess heterogeneity of air pollution impacts and possible modification due to temperature in Indian cities that are spread across climatic regions and topographies. Our findings highlight the need for pursuing stringent pollution control policies in Indian cities to minimize health impacts.

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Risk Assessment of Ingestion of Arsenic-Contaminated Water among Adults in Bandlaguda, India

Date: Feb. 2011

Description: The Indian Government describes the Patancheru Industrial Development Area (IDA) near Hyderabad as a heavily polluted site. Previous studies show levels of arsenic in ground and surface water that exceed the national drinking water standard.

We conducted a pilot study to characterize potential non-cancer and cancer risks associated with ingesting arsenic-contaminated water by adult residents of Bandlaguda, a village in the Patancheru IDA.

Read the paper in the Journal of Health and Pollution

The burden of disease from pediatric lead exposure at hazardous waste sites in 7 Asian countries

Date: June 2012

Description: Identification and systematic assessment of hazardous wastes sites in low and middle-income countries has lagged. Hazardous waste problems are especially severe in lower income Asian countries where environmental regulations are non-existent, nonspecific or poorly enforced. In these countries extensive unregulated industrial development has created waste sites in densely populated urban areas. These sites appear to pose significant risks to public health, and especially to the health of children.

To assess potential health risks from chemical contamination at hazardous waste sites in Asia, we assessed 679 sites. A total of 169 sites in 7 countries were classified as contaminated by lead. Eighty-two of these sites contained lead at levels high enough to produce elevated blood lead levels in surrounding populations.

To estimate the burden of pediatric lead poisoning associated with exposure to lead in soil and water at these 82 lead-contaminated sites, we used standard toxicokinetic models that relate levels of lead in soil and water to blood lead levels in children. We calculated blood lead levels, and we quantified losses of intelligence (reductions in IQ scores) that were attributable to lead exposure at these sites.

We found that 189,725 children in the 7 countries are at risk of diminished intelligence as a consequence of exposure to elevated levels of lead in water and soil at hazardous waste sites. Depending on choice of model, these decrements ranged from 4.94 to 14.96 IQ points. Given the restricted scope of this survey and the conservative estimation procedures employed, this number is almost certainly an underestimate of the full burden of disease.

Exposure to toxic chemicals from hazardous waste sites is an important and heretofore insufficiently examined contributor to the Global Burden of Disease.

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Vermi-remediation of Heavy Metal-Contaminated Soil (in Muthia Village, Gujarat)

Date: Jan. 2013

Description: The state of Gujarat in western India has seen tremendous industrial growth in the past three decades, mostly in the notoriously polluting chemical and dye sectors. As industrial estates develop, haphazard disposal of toxic waste within these areas and surrounding villages and rivers has become more

Read the paper in the Journal of Health and Pollution

A Comparison of Burden of Disease from Toxic Waste Sites with other Recognized Public Health Threats in India, Indonesia and the Philippines

Date: October 2014

Read the paper in the Journal of Health and Pollution Pollution 

Burden of Disease from Toxic Waste Sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2010

Date: May 2013

Description: Toxic waste sites are responsible for a significant burden of disease in low and middle-income countries. Although some factors, such as unidentified and unscreened sites, may cause our estimate to be an under estimate of the actual burden of disease, other factors, such as extrapolation of environmental sampling to the entire exposed population, may result in an over estimate of the burden of disease attributable to these sites. Toxic waste sites are a major, and heretofore under recognized, global health problem.

Burden of Disease from Toxic Waste Sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2010, Environmental Health Perspectives