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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-138

Arsenic contamination in groundwater causing impaired memory and intelligence in school children of Simri village of Buxar district of Bihar

1 Mahavir Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Patna, Bihar, India
2 Department of Biotechnology, Anugrah Narayan College, Patna, Bihar, India

Correspondence Address:
Arun Kumar
Mahavir Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Patna, Bihar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_31_18

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Background: Over the last few decades there has been increased health related issues due to arsenic poisoning worldwide. In India, in state of Bihar, 18 districts are affected from arsenic poisoning causing various health related problems in the exposed population. Arsenic poisoning in Buxar district of Bihar in the recent times has been identified as one of arsenic hotspot of Bihar due to serious health related problems including cancer. Aims and Objectives: The present study aims to find out that whether arsenic contamination in groundwater causes impaired memory and intelligence in school children of Simri village of Buxar district of Bihar or not? Materials and Methods: In the present study, water samples were collected from three hand pumps, which were utilized by the school children for drinking purpose since last ten years. Hair samples of 65 students enrolled in this school were also collected for the analysis of arsenic concentration and its correlation with the drinking water arsenic was done. The same students were interviewed for neuro-behavioural and memory tests for which various methods were utilized like continuous performance test (CPT), symbol digit test (SDT), pattern memory test (PMT) and switching attention behavior (SAB). Results: The study revealed high arsenic concentration in the water and hair samples. The correlation between high arsenic concentration in water and hair denotes high degree of exposure. Their neuro-behavioural analysis reflected very alarming observations like impaired intelligence memory pattern along with the inattention, loss of concentration and alertness. The highest arsenic concentration in drinking water observed was 857 μg/L while in the children hair sample the maximum value was 12.609 mg/Kg. Conclusion: The present study thus concludes that arsenic poisoning is causing changes in the neuro-behavioural activities in school children of Simri village. Therefore, a specific strategy is urgently required to control the present problem.

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