Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 203–223 | Cite as

Potential Health Risks Due to Toxic Contamination in the Ambient Environment of Certain Indian States

Article

Abstract

Toxic or hazardous substances pose two types of risks in the environment, namely `short-term or acute risk' and `long-termor chronic risk'. The short-term risk is associated with the one-time acute exposure to potentially hazardous substancesaccidentally released in the environment, whereas the long-termrisk is resulted from continuous exposure to potentially harmfulsubstances present in different environmental media. This articledeals with the assessment of potential health risks related to certain carcinogens and non-carcinogens (e.g. cadmium, chromiumand nickel) present in three environmental media, viz. air, waterand food in different Indian states (regions). Appropriate dose-response models have been identified and used for this purpose with the assumptions and input data as per the Indian context. Mean values of ambient air concentration levels of Cd,Cr and Ni have been used to estimate the individual and societalrisks of extra cancer in different states of India. The hazardquotients and hazard index representing the non-carcinogenic chronic health effects caused by chromium and cadmium due to their long-term exposure through water and food have also beenestimated. The risk results have been compared with the diseasesurveillance data. A definite correlation between the estimatedrisk results and the reported number of lung cancer cases and chronic liver diseases have been observed in different regions. As a matter of fact, it is not possible to derive precise risk estimates due to various uncertainties included both in availabledata and in the models which are used to calculate potency factors and effective concentration. However, average risk levelsas estimated and presented in this article are quite useful forplanning purposes.

average daily dose carcinogenic risk hazard index individual risk societal risk 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Air-Chemistry DivisionMax-Planck-Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Atmospheric SciencesIndian Institute of TechnologyHauz Khas, New DelhiIndia

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