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Lung India Official publication of Indian Chest Society  
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Year : 1984  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 50-59

Contribution Of Food, Water And Air Pollution To The Health Status In Central Bombay

Correspondence Address:
Jyoti V. S Menon

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Two middle class communities in Central Bombay (622 and 808 subjects) were studied for 6 months in 1930-81. Between 88-91 percent were studied clinically, 83% assessed for nutritional status and daily health diaries were maintained by 89-94 percent subjects. From vegetable and fruit samples (94) collected from one wholesale and two retail markets, exuberant growths of various organisms like Klebsiella, E. Coli, Pseudomonas, Staphylococci and B. Subtilis were isolated; Fungi, Enterobacteria, Proteus were less commonly seen and Clostridia and Vibrio Cholera were isolated once. Of 32 water samples from households in the community situated next to the wholesale market, 17 grew numerous pathogens. From 35 samples from the households in second community, 18 grew mainly Coliforms. By I.C.M.R. criteria, 37 were of unsatisfactory standard. These results suggest contamination of food supply possibly due to unhygienic handling and of water supply due to intermixture with sanitary effluent. The air pollutant monitoring revealed the levels of SO2 40 to 59 µg/M3, NO2 33 to 46µg/M3 and S.P.M. 217 to 297 µg/M3. The community in Dadar revealed 18.3% having frequent colds, 38.6% chronic cough, 10.0% breathlessness, 11.2% frequent abdominal pains and 9.4% irregular bowel movements. The respective prevalences for Matunga community were 15.9%, 34.1 %, 8.3%, 8.0% and 18.2%. Usually the older groups suffered from cough and breathlessness while colds were commoner at younger ages. As a check, from 13 patients with acute diarrhoea stool samples along with 10 samples of vegetables consumed, were studied for bacterial cultures; in 8 out of 10 cases bacterial isolates were same in both samples. Only 44% of Dadar and 24.7% of Matunga residents had an adequate intake of food calories; the proportions for proteins were 51.6 and 36.3 percent respectively. There were greater health morbidities (particularly colds) with poorer caloric consumption but for protein intake there were no differences. There was a greater prevalence of abnormalities in subjects with higher income perhaps due to the fact that they might be consuming more vegetables and fruit. Thus the health abnormalities in these two communities were similar to those for areas with higher levels of air pollution in Bombay.

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