The incidence of Gall bladder disease is high among people living near the Ganga and its tributaries, a largest ever study of the local population over a six-year a six year period has found.
A team of doctors from Mumbai conducted the study and found high concentrations of heavy metals in the water and soil of 60 villages along the Indo-Genetic plains that could be contributing to the disease burden.
The study was published last week in the online edition of HPB, the official journal of the International Hepato = Pancreato-Biliary Association. It has for the first time identified 8 villages in Bihar’s Vaishali district with an unusually high rate of gall bladder disease; all these villages are located in a small cluster near the river Gandak.
It’s a huge Environmental Time Bomb that is ticking away, said Dr P Jagannath, one of the principal investigators of the study. He estimates that between 20k and 30k people develop gall bladder disease each year because of the environmental factors in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alone.
The staple diet in Bihar is Sattu, which is roasted chickpea. Sattu is rich in proteins. If it is not balanced with the intake of carbohydrates, it can cause gall stones that can cause chronic irritation and eventually lead to gall bladder cancer. However, gall stones don’t always lead to cancer, said dr Jagannath. Polluting small scale units along rivers here have been a concern for long ‘ industeials effluents are known to contain heavy metals that have carcinogenic effects. As part of the study 8,421 people with symptoms were sent for ultra-sonography tests to check for gall bladder abnormalties. Bihar Govt should enforced compulsory strict law on industrial units to observ and adopt environmental law mandatory for public safety.