A recent study by the Shriram Institute of Industrial Research in New Delhi has found a high level of toxic chemical nonylphenol in drinking water across India.
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High concentrations of the hazardous toxin nonylphenol were found in drinking water across the country, according to a study. According to the study titled Toxic Chemical Nonylphenol: A Barrier to Safe Drinking Water, there are 29 to 81 times more toxic chemicals in drinking water than is permissible.
Drinking water samples were gathered from various regions in the country and delivered to the Shriram Institute of Industrial Research in New Delhi for examination as part of the study. A sample of Bathinda borewell water was found to have the highest nonylphenol concentration (80.5 ppb).
“Nonylphenol is a toxic chemical and a well-known endocrine disruptor associated with a number of adverse effects on human health. Daily intake of nonylphenol through drinking water can have adverse health impacts on citizens”, said Piyush Mohapatra, Senior Programme Coordinator, Toxics Link, the organisation that carried out the study.
In addition, nonylphenol has been classified as a chemical of global concern by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
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Nonylphenol is frequently used to make nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). NPEs are employed in everyday consumer goods such detergents, wetting agents, and dispersants as well as as surfactants.
NPEs are released into the environment and eventually decompose into nonylphenols, which can enter many environmental matrices like soil and water. Additionally, it’s possible for the chemical to escape during industrial cleaning procedures and from wastewater produced during the creation of NPEs.
Nonylphenol was identified in detergents offered on the Indian market, with the highest concentration being 11.92 percent, according to a 2019 study by Toxics Link. Additionally, it was found in remarkably high concentrations in every sample of a river or lake analyzed for that particular study.
Additionally, there are no laws in the country that would limit or gradually phase out the use of NPEs in detergents and other consumer goods to stop the release of nonylphenol into the environment, particularly water bodies.
“European Union and countries like US, Japan and China have already acknowledged the dangers of this chemical and have come up with regulations to phase out the chemical in many of the products including detergents for minimising the risks at the downstream level,” said Dr Omkar Gaonkar.
He further said, “These countries have also established water quality criteria and standards for nonylphenol.”
“Presence of nonylphenol in drinking water is of serious concern to human health and will require thorough investigation and creation of suitable standards for nonylphenol in drinking water. This measure will go a long way in ensuring water quality and availability of safe drinking water to citizens,” said Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link.
- Nonylphenol was discovered in every sample, with levels varying from 29.1 to 80.5 ppb.
- The tap water from a government supply in Indraprastha, New Delhi, had the lowest concentration (29.1 ppb), while the tap water from a borewell in Bathinda had the highest concentration (80.5 ppb).
- The drinking water samples had nonylphenol values ranging from 58.861.5 ppb. From three samples of drinking water, two were filtered (61.5 ppb in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and 58.8 ppb in Sancole, South Goa), and one was RO-treated (61.1 ppb in Bhatinda, Punjab)
- Nonylphenol concentrations were 29 to 81 times greater in water samples than the BIS limit for phenolic chemicals in drinking water (1 ppb). When compared to the US EPA safety threshold for freshwater quality standards, these numbers are even higher.