Communicable and Non-communicable diseases – HIV, Malaria, Cancer, Mental Health, etc.

Heavy metals in fertilizers raise risk of diabetes, heart diseases in farmers


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the disease mentioned in the newscard, heavy metals, etc.

Mains level: Effect on human health


Research done by the nanoscience and water research unit of the central government’s department of science and technology

  1. According to the research, synthetic fertilizers used in farming can trigger diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
  2. The scientists found a close link between toxic heavy metals used in fertilizers and the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among farmers

Particulars of the research

  1. The government funded research was carried out in a village in Tamil Nadu on around 900 people whose urine samples were tested
  2. Around 82.5% of the study population was involved in farming and high levels of toxic metals were detected in the synthetic fertilizers used in the study village
  3. The prevalence of pre-diabetes, diabetes and atherosclerosis was 43.4%, 16.2% and 10.3%, respectively
  4. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin
  5. Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease in which there is narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup on the artery walls

Seriousness of the government

  1. The health ministry has been running screening programs in rural areas to get to the bottom of the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases in these areas

Prevalence of Non-Communicable disease

  1. The phase one results of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-INDIAB (India diabetes) study have also shown that the prevalence of non communicable diseases is higher in both urban and rural areas of India compared to earlier studies
  2. A recent analysis of trends done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi revealed an increase in diabetes prevalence among the rural population at a rate of 2.02 per 1,000 population per year


Heavy metals

  1. Heavy metals are generally defined as metals with relatively high densities, atomic weights, or atomic numbers. The criteria used, and whether metalloids are included, vary depending on the author and context
  2. In metallurgy, for example, a heavy metal may be defined on the basis of density, whereas in physics the distinguishing criterion might be atomic number, while a chemist would likely be more concerned with chemical behaviour
  3. More specific definitions have been published, but none of these have been widely accepted. The definitions surveyed in this article encompass up to 96 out of the 118 known chemical elements; only mercury, lead and bismuth meet all of them
  4. Despite this lack of agreement, the term (plural or singular) is widely used in science
  5. A density of more than 5 g/cm3 is sometimes quoted as a commonly used criterion and is used in the body of this article
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