New Delhi, Dec 14: Grave concern was expressed in the Lok Sabha on Friday over presence of arsenic in drinking water in some districts of Bihar, with members demanding adequate steps to control diseases and birth defects caused by it.
Meena Singh (JD-U) pointed out during Question Hour that there is high arsenic content in the drinking water in Ara and other districts of Bihar. She said this was leading to birth of blind children.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad accepted that this is a serious problem as chronic arsenic toxicity and high fluoride content is a major health hazard.
"Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Ministry of Health has funded several adhoc research projects. Reports are awaited and once the reports come we will act on them," Azad said.
He informed the House that a national programme to fight fluorosis caused by fluoride content in water has been launched. Six states - Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odisha and Tamil Nadu - have such cases. A task force was formed in 2010 to face this challenge.
Azad agreed with Singh that arsenic is affecting pregnant women and causing still births and birth of blind children.
Speaker Meira Kumar said this is an important issue and if the members wanted a discussion, it could be held.