Lok Sabha

December 17, 2015

Ratna De Nag speaks on arsenic contamination in food chain

Ratna De Nag speaks on arsenic contamination in food chain

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for allowing me to speak.

It is a matter of astonishment for me to know that arsenic poisoning has spread to 12 states.

Arsenic groundwater contamination was first detected in West Bengal in 1983. By 2020 its spread was reported from Ganges-Brahmaputra alluvial region covering Jharkhand, Bihar and other states. At present 96 out of 640 districts have high contents of arsenic. Most disturbing news at present is arsenic poisoning has entered the food chain through our farm products.

A committee of secretaries in a report to government estimated that 7 lakh people have been affected by arsenic with around 3 lakh people have been arsenic related disease. Thirty per cent of these 3 lakh people are poor and malnourished. A policy of action should be put in place immediately to ensure that arsenic contamination is not entered into the food products in these 12 states.

Under these circumstances, Madam, I would strongly urge the Hon’ble Minister to address the issue of arsenic poisoning and get rid of arsenic contents in our food and farm products.

Thank you, Madam.