, Volume 184, Issue 12, pp 7365-7372
Date: 19 Jan 2012

Influence of mercury from fly ash on cattle reared nearby thermal power plant

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Cattle grazing nearby coal-fired power stations are exposed to fly ash. The present investigation aims to assess the environmental and health impacts of fly ash containing mercury emitted from thermal power plant. The health effect of fly ash were studied using 20 lactating cattle reared within a 5-km radius of s thermal power plant for the possible effect of fly ash such as the alterations in hematological and biochemical parameters of blood, milk, and urine. Results indicated that the hemoglobin levels (6.65 ± 0.40 g/dl) were significantly reduced in all the exposed animals. Biochemical parameters viz., blood urea nitrogen (27.35 ± 1.19 mg/dl), serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (43.39 ± 3.08 IU/l), albumin, and creatinine were found to be increased, whereas serum glutamate pyruvic transaminase (29.26 ± 2.02) and Ca2+ were observed to be statistically insignificant in exposed animals. Mercury concentrations estimated in the blood, milk, and urine of exposed (n = 20) and control (n = 20) animals were 7.41 ± 0.86, 4.75 ± 0.57, 2.08 ± 0.18, and 1.05 ± 0.07, 0.54 ± 0.03, 0.20 ± 0.02 μg/kg, respectively. The significant increase (P < 0.01) in the levels of mercury in blood, milk, and urine of exposed animals in comparison to control indicated that the alterations of biochemical parameters in exposed cattle could be due to their long term exposure to fly ash mercury which may have direct or indirect impact on human populations via food chain.