Bangalore: Pollution test on traffic police

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Findings are expected to give authorities an indicator of the quality of air in the city

Amid concerns over increasing pollution levels in Bangalore, traffic police personnel, who are constantly exposed to hazardous air pollutants in the course of their work, will soon be tested for lead content in their blood. The findings are expected to give authorities an indicator of the quality of air in the city and its impact on the entire society, said Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

The study will be jointly conducted by KSPCB and Bangalore-based National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. All the estimated 3,000 traffic police personnel in the city will undergo the test, which is scheduled to begin next week. The 941 personnel in West Division will be the first to undergo the test, said a KSPCB official.

Why this test?
Identifying vehicular pollution as one of the main reasons for the presence of lead in the air of Bangalore, a Board official said the chemical accumulates in the nervous system and brain. It remains in the kidney and brain for a very long time. Board officials said chronic lead exposure is linked to adverse and irreversible neuro-developmental effects in children and adults.

Though unleaded petrol had been introduced in the country, vehicular pollution is not solely responsible for the presence of lead in the air, an official said.

Main complaints
Additional Commissioner of Bangalore City Traffic Police B Dayanand said policemen spend at least eight hours every day on the roads as part of their duty. Some of the common complaints among traffic personnel are breathing difficulties, blocking of nose and throat pain. Apart from arranging for use-and-throw pollution resistant masks, the Department also advises them to exercise daily and clean their nose after work. They are advised walking, yoga and deep breathing.

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