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India probes uranium link to disabled children

  • Story Highlights
  • Traces of uranium found in hair samples of children and adults with disabilities
  • India sending investigative team to the northern state of Punjab
  • Samples had been sent to Germany on the recommendation of a toxicologist
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India's Department of Atomic Energy is sending an investigative team to the northern state of Punjab after traces of uranium where found in the hair samples of children and adults with disabilities.

The toxic metal was found in individuals under the care of the Baba Farid Center for Special Children in the town of Faridkot.

"The team "will collect samples from water, soil and vegetation and also hair samples (from the patients), S.K. Malhotra, a DAE spokesman, said Friday.

"Whatever can be done on the spot will be done on the spot." Additional tests will be carried out in Mumbai, where the DAE is based.

The team is expected to reach Faridkot on Monday.

The uranium traces showed up in 87 percent of the samples taken from nearly 150 patients, mostly children, according to Pritpal Singh, who heads the facility. He said the discovery was accidental after the samples were sent to a German lab on the recommendation of a toxicologist.

"We are surprised with the findings as there are no known sources of uranium in Punjab," Singh added.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh contributed to this report.

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