Air quality tests done in Delhi and Gurugram in the last two months has shown a presence of alarming levels of toxic heavy metals.
A recent report titled 'Death in Every Breath', released by NGO Lung Care Foundation analysed results of seven air quality tests taken in the two cities.
The PM 2.5 levels - fine particulate matters in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres - in all the seven tests were above statutory limits, the report said.
Increase in cancer causing Neuro-toxic elements
'Levels of lead in six of the seven tests exceed the US EPA 3-month average for exposure to lead (0.15 ug/m3) and in two tests exceeds the Indian NAAQS Annual and the WHO annual health-based guidelines value of 0.05 ug/m3,' the report said.
Nickel levels in all the tests exceed the WHO annual health-based guidelines value of 0.0025 ug/m3, which is based on the risk of cancer associated with long-term exposure to nickel.
Manganese, lead and nickel are neurotoxins that damage the brain.
Adverse consequences on children
Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead.
'It is a matter of very serious concern that such high levels of these toxic metals are found in the air that our children breathe,' said Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation.
High level of barium
The report also found high levels of barium from Diwali fireworks.
'The barium level in the air quality test a day before Diwali is 21.5 g/m3, on the day of Diwali the test has barium level of 5.8 g/m3, and a day after Diwali, the barium level in the test is 2.4 g/m3,' the report said.