A study of 4100 samples of 31 vegetables collected from Indian markets showed evidence of contamination.

Many had been contaminated with pesticide residues, although only 9% exceeded the maximum permitted residue threshold, reported Indian agriculture minister during Question Hour earlier this week.

The vegetables were collected from Yamunapushta, Najafgarh and Okhla. Some of them had significant levels of zinc, lead and cadmium, although none of the samples had copper in excess of the permissible limits.

The contamination was blamed on irrigation with sewage water and industrial effluents. Aerial deposition from thermal factories and exhaust from vehicles had also played a role.

The study was carried out by the All India Coordinated Research Project on Pesticide Residue, Indian Agricultural Research Institute and Imperial College of London.