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BARC Develops Portable Kit for Detection of Chromium Contamination of Water
Aug 27, 2016

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed a simple, user friendly, quick and cost effective kit for onsite determination of Chromium (VI), which meets IS10500 as well as EPA criterion.

Key Features

  • It provides the much needed solution to measure the level of Chromium contamination in drinking water and tap water, lakes, rivers as well as ground water.
  • The procedure involves adding a specified amount of specific reagents to the water sample and identifying the developed colour.
  • The colour develops within 5 minutes and the distinction can be made with naked eye.
  • For ease of comparison a colour chart is provided with the kit.
  • Water samples can be immediately categorized as being safe or toxic for drinking from Chromium(VI) point of view.
  • The kit provides several advantages including onsite detection and instantaneous results, elimination of use of sophisticated instruments for analysis, low investment on infrastructure for production of the kit, easy availability of raw materials and very good accuracy for the intended purpose.

What is Choromium and Why Harmful?

  • Chromium is widely used in various industries like leather, steel, chrome plating, paint manufacturing, wood preservation etc.
  • Untreated effluents from these industries cause widespread contamination of water as been reported in several parts of the country.
  • Chromium in the environment primarily exists as Trivalent Chromium (III) and Hexavalent Chromium (VI). The later is toxic and the World Health Organization has classified it as carcinogenic and can cause stomach ulcers and cancers and severe damage to kidneys and liver.
  • As per Indian standard IS10500 for drinking water, the maximum permissible concentration of Chromium (VI) in drinking water is 50 microgram per litre.
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a still lower permissible concentration of 10 microgram per liter.
  • Detection of Chromium (VI) at such low levels is not only technically challenging but also expensive and time consuming since it involves collection of water samples from affected areas, transport to laboratory, storage and finally analysis.
  • The method can be used for limited water samples with errors due to conversion of Chromium (III) to Chromium (VI) and vice versa during transport and storage.

Existing kits for onsite detection of Chromium (VI) are currently imported and the cost of analysis is beyond Rs.100 per sample. In comparison, analysis using BARC kit costs Rs.16 per sample.

BARC: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is a Premier Multi Disciplinary Nuclear Research Centre of India having excellent infrastructure for advanced Research and Development with expertise covering the entire spectrum of Nuclear Science and Engineering and related areas.

  • This institution is based in Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The Government of India created the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay  (AEET) on 3 January 1954.
  • It was established to consolidate all the research and development activity for nuclear reactors and technology under the Atomic Energy Commission.
  • After Homi J. Bhabha’s death in 1966, the centre was renamed as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre on 22 January 1967.

BARC's core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation. It manages all facets of nuclear power generation, from theoretical design of reactors, computerised modelling and simulation, risk analysis, development and testing of new reactor fuel materials, etc. It also conducts research in spent fuel processing, and safe disposal of nuclear waste. Its other research focus areas are applications for isotopes in industries, medicine, agriculture, etc. BARC operates a number of research reactors across the country.


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