'Traffic cops, best samples for lead content in blood'

'Traffic cops, best samples for lead content in blood'

An initiative to check lead content in the blood of 3,000 police personnel began in the City on Saturday.

The project has been launched by the City police, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) in technical collaboration with National Referral Centre for Lead Project in India (NRCLPI) is conducting as part of a study titled “Effect on Environmental Lead Pollution.”

Explaining the rationale for selecting traffic policemen for the study, Dr Venkatesh, Director, NRCLPI, said that traffic policemen were the best samples to study the lead content in blood as they are the most exposed to pollution and spend most of the hours outdoors.

“ Since traffic police are exposed to polluted air for a long time, the content of lead in their blood is an indicator of air quality. We will take 45 days to screen 3,000 traffic policemen for lead content in their blood. The results will be furnished to the department by the end of August or first week of September,” he added.

The policemen will be screened at  Anand Diagnostic Centre, Kanva Diagnositic Centre, St John’s Hospital and Bangalore Baptist Hospital.

KSPCB Chairperson Vamanacharya said that use of leaded petrol had been stopped a decade ago. “Yet, there are traces of lead and this study will help us in knowing the source of the chemical. Low-rung traffic police personnel are our main samples as they are affected 50 to 500 times more than a common man,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after inaugurating the programme, Home Minister K J George said that mere screening traffic policemen was not enough and they should be treated to cure their ailments.

‘Use health insurance’

He advised policemen to make use of health insurance facility to get treatment. The minister said that the health checkup camps should be conducted for police personnel at regular intervals.

George said that the process of recruitment of police personnel had already begun and physical endurance test would be conducted for around 2,500 candidates in the coming days.

“Police sub-inspectors have not been recruited for the past four years and a majority of the aspirants who have crossed the maximum age limit are demanding relaxation in upper age. The issue will be discussed in the Cabinet meeting,” he said.

When questioned about the recent incident of an MLA abusing a traffic constable, the minister said that he did not know what exactly happened.

“But, no one above law and anyone violating the rules will be punished according to the law irrespective of the position they hold.

The traffic police too should serve the public with a smile and treat the citizens with respect and dignity,” George added.

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