Spectrophotometer-based student education program on health hazard assessment due to Cr(VI) and Pb contamination in surface and groundwaters of Hyderabad City, India

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Chemistry, St. Pius X Degree and PG College for Women, Snehapuri Colony, Nacharam, Hyderabad-500076, India

2 CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute, Uppal Road, Hyderabad-500007, India



A student-centric research education program with the active participation of undergraduate students is initiated. The aim is to imbibe ―responsible citizenship behavior‖ in them so that each member becomes conscious and well trained to take up environmental-related issues and challenges for long-term sustainability of the ecosystem. In this work, we report spectrophotometer-based estimation of hexavalent chromium (57-268 gL-1) and lead (34–158 gL-1) concentrations in different surface waters and groundwater samples in and around the city of Hyderabad, India. Our results indicate that the studied surface water bodies and aquifers are contaminated to variable degrees and pose a serious threat to the ecosystem. In view of low geochemical baseline values for chromium and lead, the origin of heavy metal pollution is inferred to be anthropogenic, mainly originating from industrial effluents. The toxicological data are integrated with health data for risk assessment and impending health hazard. Finally, the novelty of this student-centric research program is highlighted.


Anantha Reddy, N. (1983). Hydrogeological studies in the granitic terrain of Hayatnagar, Ranga Reddy District. Ph. D. Dissertation, Osmania University, Hyderabad. BIS (1991). Drinking water—Specification, Bureau of Indian Standard IS 10500, New Delhi.
Chandra, S., Singh, A. and Tomar, P. K. (2012). Assessment of water quality values in Porur Lake Chennai, Hussainsagar Hyderabad and Vihar Lake Mumbai, India. Chem. Sci. Trans., 1(3), 508–515. Das, A. P. and Mishra, S. (2008). Hexavalent chromium (VI): Environment pollutant and health hazard. J. Environ. Res. Dev., 2(3), 386–392.
Davies, B. E. (1983). A graphical estimation of the normal lead content of some British soils. Geoderma, 29(1), 67–75.
Govil, P. K., Reddy, G. L. N. and Rao, T. G. (1999). Environmental pollution in India: heavy metals and radiogenic elements in Nacharam Lake. J. Environ. Health, 61(1), 23–28.
Govil, P. K. (2013, August). Geochemical baseline mapping in India using top and bottom soil samples for environmental management. (Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Goldschmidt Conference, Florence, Italy).
IIHFW (2009). Environmental pollution and its effects on health in Hyderabad. Indian Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Hyderabad. Retrieved May 29, 2014, from http://iihfw.org.
Karbassi, A. N., Monavari, S. M., Nabi Bidhendi, Gh. R., Nouri, J. and Nematpour, K. (2008). Metal pollution assessment of sediment and water in the Shur River. Environ. Monit. Assess., 147(1-3), 107–116.
Koshie, N. (2002, March 05). Lab gets device to test lead level. Reported in: The Times of India, Hyderabad.
Lin, C.C., Wu, M.L., Yang, C.C., Ger, J., Tsai, W.J. and Deng, J.F. (2009). Acute severe chromium poisoning after dermal exposure to hexavalent chromium. J. Chinese Med. Assoc., 72(4), 219–221.
Lubick, N. (2009). India’s drug problem. Nature, 457, 640–641.
Mining Watch (2012). Potential toxic effects of chromium, chromite mining and ferrochrome production: A literature review. MiningWatch Canada. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from www.miningwatch.ca/chromium.
Ministry of MSME (2014). Brief industrial profile of Hyderabad district; Brief industrial profile of Ranga Reddy district. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://dcmsme.gov.in/dips/.
Nagaraj, P., Aradhana, N., Shivakumar, A., Shrestha, A. K. and Gowda, A. K. (2009). Spectrophotometric method for the determination of chromium (VI) in water samples. Environ. Monit. Assess., 157(1-4), 575–582.
OEHHA (2011). Final Public Health Goal for Hexavalent Chromium -A fact sheet by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. California Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from http://www.oehha.ca.gov/.
Purushotham, D., Rashid, M., Lone, M. A., Narsing Rao, A., Ahmed, S., Nagaiah, E. and Dar, F. A. (2013). Environmental impact assessment of 
air and heavy metal concentration in groundwater of Maheshwaram watershed, Ranga Reddy district, Andhra Pradesh. J. Geol. Soc. India, 81(3), 385–396.
Ramoo, S. K. (2000, January 01). Evolve policy to combat lead poisoning, Centre urged. Reported in The Hindu.
Reddy, M.V. and Vijay Kumar, A. (2001). Effects of Ganesh-idol immersion on some water quality parameters of Hussainsagar Lake. Curr. Sci., 81(11), 1412–1413.
Reddy, M. V., Sagar Babu, K., Balaram, V. and Satyanarayanan, M. (2012). Assessment of the effects of municipal sewage, immersed idols and boating on the heavy metal and other elemental pollution of surface water of the eutrophic Hussainsagar Lake (Hyderabad, India). Environ. Monit. Assess, 184(4), 1991–2000.
Satyanarayanan, M., Balaram, V., Saad Al Hussin, M., Al Jemaili, M. A. R., Rao, T. G., Mathur, R., Dasaram, B. and Ramesh, S. L. (2007). Assessment of groundwater quality in a structurally deformed granitic terrain in Hyderabad, India. Environ. Monit. Assess., 131(1-3), 117–127.
Seenayya, G. and Prahalad, A. K. (1987). In situ compartmentation and bio-magnification of chromium and manganese in industrially polluted Hussainsagar Lake, Hyderabad, India. Water Air Soil Pollut., 35(3-4), 233–239.
Shiri, S., Delpisheh, A., Haeri, A., Poornajaf, A., Golzadeh, B. and Shiri, S. (2011). Determination of trace amounts of lead using the flotation-spectrophotometric method. Anal. Chem. Insights, 6, 15–20.
Skerfving, S. and Bergdahi, I.A. (2007). Lead. (In G. F. Nordberg, B. A. Fowler, M. Nordberg, & L. Friberg (Eds.), Handbook on the Toxicology of Metals (pp. 599–645), Academic Press, Elsevier).
Srikanth, R., Rao, A. M., Shravan Kumar, Ch. and Khanum, A. (1993). Lead, Cadmium, Nickel and Zinc contamination of ground water around Hussain Sagar Lake, Hyderabad, India. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., 50(1), 138–143.
Taylor, S. R. and Mclennan, S. M. (1995). The geochemical evolution of the continental crust. Rev. Geophys., 33(2), 241–265.
Tripathi, R. M., Raghunath, R., Mahapatra, S. and Sadasivan, S. (2000). Blood lead and its effect on Cd, Cu, Zn, Fe and hemoglobin levels of children. Sci. Total Environ., 277(1-3), 161–168.
WHO (2004). Guidelines for drinking water quality. 3rd ed., ISBN 9241546387. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from http://www.who.int/watersanitationhealth/dwq/guidelines/en.
WHO (2011). Ten chemicals of major public health concern. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/chemicals_phc/en.