Health Risks from Contaminated Green Leafy Vegetables in Ambagarh Chowki

Jenn Hoskins
9th July, 2024

Health Risks from Contaminated Green Leafy Vegetables in Ambagarh Chowki

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study analyzed 52 elements in seven leafy vegetable species in Ambagarh Chowki, India
  • Spinach had the highest accumulation of many elements, including harmful ones like lead and cadmium
  • Twenty-one elements exceeded WHO's permissible limits, posing significant non-carcinogenic health risks
The consumption of leafy vegetables is prevalent in India due to their high nutrient and vitamin content. A recent study conducted by the Government Nagarjuna Post Graduate College of Science in Raipur explored the accumulation of 52 elements in seven leafy vegetable species in Ambagarh Chowki, India[1]. This study is crucial as it highlights potential health risks associated with consuming these vegetables due to the presence of various elements, some of which exceed permissible limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The study utilized Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to analyze the elemental content in seven leafy vegetables: Amaranthus tricolor L., Corchorus olitorius L., Cordia myxa L., Hibiscus sabdariffa L., Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., Moringa oleifera Lam., and Spinacia oleracea L. The results revealed that Spinacia oleracea (spinach) had the highest accumulation potential for many elements, including Al, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Fe, Ga, Ge, Li, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, Th, Tl, U, V, W, and Rare Earth Elements (REEs). Hibiscus sabdariffa leaves showed the highest concentration of arsenic (As), while Moringa oleifera leaves had the highest levels of calcium (Ca) and silicon (Si). Amaranthus tricolor leaves had the highest levels of magnesium (Mg), strontium (Sr), and molybdenum (Mo), and Cordia myxa leaves had the highest levels of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn). Twenty-one elements, including chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), vanadium (V), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), thorium (Th), antimony (Sb), barium (Ba), beryllium (Be), lithium (Li), strontium (Sr), thallium (Tl), uranium (U), selenium (Se), tin (Sn), and REEs, were found to exceed WHO's permissible limits. The elevated hazard index values indicated significant non-carcinogenic effects, meaning that the consumption of these vegetables could lead to adverse health effects that do not involve cancer, such as organ damage or developmental issues. The sources of these elements were attributed to a combination of geological factors and agricultural practices. This finding is consistent with previous research indicating that natural deposits and agricultural activities contribute significantly to arsenic and other element contamination in the environment[2][3]. For example, arsenic contamination in soil and water has been linked to both natural and anthropogenic sources, including industrial effluents and pesticides[2]. Furthermore, the transfer of arsenic through the soil-water-plant system is a well-documented pathway for human exposure, emphasizing the importance of understanding and mitigating these contamination routes[3]. The study's findings are particularly concerning given the health risks associated with the identified elements. Arsenic, for example, is a known carcinogen and can cause various health issues, including skin lesions, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes[2][3]. The presence of cadmium and lead, which were also found in high concentrations, poses additional health risks. Cadmium exposure can lead to kidney damage and bone demineralization, while lead exposure is particularly harmful to children, causing developmental issues and cognitive decline[4]. This study underscores the need for further investigation into the potential health implications of consuming these leafy vegetables in Ambagarh Chowki. It also highlights the importance of implementing more effective regulatory and preventative measures to ensure the safety of urban vegetable gardens. Previous studies have shown that urbanization and industrialization contribute to the contamination of garden soils with potentially toxic elements (PTEs), which can then be taken up by vegetables and pose health risks to consumers[4]. In conclusion, while leafy vegetables are an essential part of the diet in India, this study reveals significant health risks associated with their consumption due to the accumulation of various elements, some of which exceed permissible limits. The findings call for urgent attention to the sources of contamination and the implementation of measures to mitigate these risks, ensuring the safety and health of consumers.



Main Study

1) Multi-element Contamination and Health Risks in Green Leafy Vegetables from Ambagarh Chowki, Chhattisgarh, India.

Published 8th July, 2024

Related Studies

2) A review on arsenic in the environment: contamination, mobility, sources, and exposure.

3) A review on arsenic in the environment: bio-accumulation, remediation, and disposal.

4) Assessment of the pollution levels of potential toxic elements in urban vegetable gardens in southwest China.

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