Panel To Probe ‘Uranium’ In Kids

Panel To Probe ‘Uranium’ In Kids Tests on kids suffering from cerebral palsy or mental disabilities in Punjab have disclosed high levels of uranium.

A charity based in the Punjab’s Faridkot city said chemical analyses of hair samples collected from 149 children in its care showed "unpredicted quantities" of toxicants.

The kids who took part in the study were below the age of 13 years, it said.

The outcome has puzzled the functionaries as there are no known sources of uranium in Punjab.

The chemical examinations were carried out on the suggestion of Dr. Carin Smit, a South African metal toxicologist connected with the UK-based non-governmental organisation Defeat Autism Now.

Samples of hair collected from the 149 children, then resident at the Faridkot-based charity, Baba Farid Centre for Special Children, were tested at Trace Mineral, a laboratory in Germany.

Prithpal Singh, head of Baba Farid, said that the results of the study were startling.

Mr. Prithpal said, “Around 80% of the samples, including those from children with cerebral palsy, revealed the presence of uranium in levels that the experts have described as pathological.”

“We are informed that there is a fairly well established correlation between exposure to uranium and birth defects, renal damage and several forms of cancer.”

“This could well be among the causes of the conditions afflicting our children.”

The "unexpected" results have drawn Dr. Smit and her associate Vera Dirr back to Faridkot, where they have now accumulated urine samples from the kids to get detailed proof of uranium exposure.

A few specialists say that the problem may be more widespread.

No-one excepting the kids at the Faridkot centre has been analyzed for the presence of toxic metals.

Mr. Singh also said that the specialists cleared up that the outcomes did not entail any exposure to radioactivity.

Health officials in Punjab said they were unaware of the problem.

Punjab health minister Lakshmi Kanta Chawla said, “This is not a health subject. We don't know how children are showing such high concentrations of uranium.”