Cancer-causing particles in village water, in India

More than 30 cancer-related deaths have been reported from Bahrauli village in Meergunj tehsil in India five years and villagers are blaming contaminated water supply for the proliferation of the disease.

Their repeated pleas to the district authorities to get drinking water brought out by hand-pump tested for arsenic and other cancer-causing substances were largely being ignored till now. The state health department has finally sent samples of drinking water from the village to the state medical laboratory and also set up a medical camp in the area for conducting check-ups of the locals.

According to Villagers it's not just the elderly who are dying of the disease but people as young as 30 who are suffering. The major cause of death has been found to be cancer in the gall bladder and pancreas. The locals say the victims were found suffering from cancer after they complained of minor health problems like stomach disorders, which assumed alarming proportion within a short time.

Family members of the diseased tried to seek medical help in big cities but were sent back by the doctors who expressed helplessness in the wake of advanced stage of the disease.

The victims' kin have fallen into penury seeking medical treatment for their loved ones. They claim that most of the victims had no family history of cancer.

Residents say the matter was brought to the notice of authorities concerned, including Water Supply department, but nothing was done. Despite repeated pleas, the sample of drinking water supplied through hand pumps was not sent for testing by the health department.

However, after the issue was raised by media and social organizations, the health department has set up a medical camp in the area for medical examination of the locals.

A team of scientists from University also visited the spot and took samples of drinking water. They found that more than half of the drinking water supply in the village was unfit for consumption as it turned yellowish within a few minutes after being put in a container. Moreover, minute brownish particles were found present in the sample which was sent for laboratory testing.