Seasonal Effects of Water Quality on Maternal and Infant Health in India

  • Blog Post Date 01 April, 2011
  • IGC Research on India
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This project examines the impact of fertiliser agrichemicals in water on infant and child health using data on water quality combined with data on the health outcomes of infants and children from the Demographic and Health Surveys of India. Because fertilisers are applied at specific times in the growing season, the concentrations of agrichemicals in water vary seasonally and by agricultural region, as some Indian states plant predominantly summer crops while others plant winter crops. The identification strategy exploits the differing timing of the planting seasons across regions and differing seasonal prenatal exposure to agrichemicals to identify the impact of agrichemical contamination on various measures of child health. The research shows that children exposed to higher concentrations of agrichemicals during their first trimester experience worse health outcomes on a variety of measures, and the effects are largest among the most vulnerable groups – children of uneducated poor women living in rural India.

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