There are many amputees in the area; this is probably due to arsenic poisoning, says one of the researchers, Kusal K Das from Al Ameen Medical College and Hospital in Bijapur, Karnataka.
"The people never realised they are suffering from arsenic poisoning," he says.
The study is the first scientific description of chronic human arsenic toxicity in areas with historic gold mining, say the researchers.
Arsenic poisoning has traditionally been reported from West Bengal and the Indo Gangetic Plain.
Prevalence of arsenical skin lesions in the village is comparable to that in other affected areas in South Asia.
The study adds a new dimension to the impacts of environmental degradation on health, says Gopal Dabade, a public health expert in Karnataka.
To establish a link between arsenic contamination and health, the government has to accept this as a public health issue, he adds.
The good thing is that the Karnataka government has already started providing safe drinking water to the villages with high levels of arsenic in water.
Image: A commemorative plaque at the entrance to the Kolar Gold Fields golf club offers visitors a reminder of the history associated with the mines.