Context: Arsenic-resistant rice cultivated in West Bengal
- Arsenic from groundwater and the soil can enter the food chain through paddy
- West Bengal is among the States with the highest concentration of arsenic in groundwater, with as many as 83 blocks across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.
- The new rice variety, Muktoshri — also called IET 21845 —, was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah coming under West Bengal’s Agriculture Department and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow
- This variety uptakes very less amount of arsenic from soil and water in comparison to other varieties of rice.
- According to the World Health Organization,
- long-term exposure to arsenic, mainly through drinking water and food, can lead to poisoning.
- Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects.
- provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water is 0.01 mg/l (10 μg/l). The permissible limit of arsenic in India in the absence of an alternative source is 0.05 mg/l (50 μg/l).