Ragpicking woes

• A 2003 study by Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, compared the health of Delhi's ragpickers with that of control subjects from east Delhi's slums. Nearly 75.5 per cent ragpickers in a sample group of 98 had higher frequency of upper respiratory symptoms (sinusitis, running or stuffy nose, sore throat, common cold, fever) and 81.6 per cent showed lower respiratory symptoms (dry cough, cough with phlegm, wheezing, and chest discomfort) and breathing problems.

• A 1995 study by Direct Initiative for Social and Health Action, a non-governmental organisation, on 179 Kolkata ragpickers said less than 10 per cent were immunised against tetanus toxoid. The situation in Delhi was better, a 2002-2004 study by Chintan said.