More than 150 kids are suffering from big heads, bulging eyes, twisted hands that don’t reach their mouths and bent legs that can barely support their weak and frail frames. The visiting South African toxicologist Dr Carin Smit was inttrigued by seening these abnormalities among children in a pocket of Faridkot in Punjab.
He had their hair samples and sent to a german laboratory.The results, which have just come are shocking: the deformities were caused by alarmingly high level of Uranium. “the test results have left us baffled as there’s no apparent source of Uranium in punjab” said Prithpal Singh, head of Baba Farid Centre for special children in Faridkot.
More tests are now being organized among the 150 affected children with the help of a team of German and South African doctors to establish whether the traces found are from depleted uranium or natural sources.
Dr Smit, a clinical metal toxicologist from Johannesburg who is here to collect more samples of children’s hair and urine said,”when i first saw such evidence of severe brain damage i thought it was poisoning, I never suspected uranium” Experts say the government must step in.
Of course it’s a health issue as it deals with the damaging impact of heavy metal on people.This is a subject of serious research and we need financial support for scientific studies”said Pratibha Singhvi, professor of Paediatric Neurology at PGI, Chandigarh.