There is prevalence of Uranium concentration above 30 micro-gram per litre (World Health Organization (WHO) provisional guidelines) in some of the localized pockets of few States/UTs in the country. A report brought out by Duke University, USA in association with Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water departments states that Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir have localised occurrence of Uranium concentration.
As per information received from Department of Atomic Energy, elevated uranium level in drinking water may affect human health. Health studies carried out elsewhere in the world suggest that elevated uranium level in drinking water may be associated with kidney toxicity. Further, several studies focusing on health effects have been carried out in Finland among people who use their drilled wells as sources of drinking water having uranium concentrations in the range 5.6 – 3410 ppb. However, no clear clinical symptoms have been observed among the exposed population.
The Indian Standard IS 10500: 2012 for Drinking Water specification has specified the maximum acceptable limits for radioactive residues as alpha and beta emitters, values in excess of which render the water not suitable. These requirements take into account all radioactive elements including uranium. No individual radioactive elements have been specifically identified.
Further, as per information provided by Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), they are working to incorporate maximum permissible limit of Uranium as 0.03 mg/l (as per WHO provisional guidelines) in all drinking water standards after following due process.
This information was given in a written reply by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria in Rajya Sabha today.