Bone deformities due to arsenic poisoning of groundwater are common among the youth in Bengal, the Indian army has found. Less than 100 youths among the 2,000 who turned up for an army recruitment drive in February 2012, passed the physical test.
“We had 200 vacancies, but we could not even fill even 50% of the posts,” said group captain TK Singha, chief public relations officer, ministry of defence. “Most of the students failed the basic medical test because of defects in bone structure,” said an officer. “This was not visible by the naked eye, nor did it affect normal life.” [...] “We found out most of the candidates came from arsenic affected regions of Bengal, and drink water from hand pumps”.
Arsenic contamination of groundwater in West Bengal was detected more than 30 years ago, according Sudarshan Niyogi, professor of chemical engineering at IIT-Kharagpur.
“Arsenic can affect any organ, including bones, causing deformity, brittleness and degeneration”.
For more on arsenic poisoning in West Bengal see the web site of the School of Environmental Studies (SOES), Jadavpur University.
Source: Hindustan Times, 18 Mat 2012