• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of envhperEnvironmental Health PerspectivesBrowse ArticlesAbout EHPGeneral InformationAuthorsMediaProgramsPartnerships
Environ Health Perspect. May 2000; 108(5): 393–397.
PMCID: PMC1638054
Research Article

Groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

Abstract

Nine districts in West Bengal, India, and 42 districts in Bangladesh have arsenic levels in groundwater above the World Health Organization maximum permissible limit of 50 microg/L. The area and population of the 42 districts in Bangladesh and the 9 districts in West Bengal are 92,106 km(2) and 79.9 million and 38,865 km(2) and 42.7 million, respectively. In our preliminary study, we have identified 985 arsenic-affected villages in 69 police stations/blocks of nine arsenic-affected districts in West Bengal. In Bangladesh, we have identified 492 affected villages in 141 police stations/blocks of 42 affected districts. To date, we have collected 10,991 water samples from 42 arsenic-affected districts in Bangladesh for analysis, 58,166 water samples from nine arsenic-affected districts in West Bengal. Of the water samples that we analyzed, 59 and 34%, respectively, contained arsenic levels above 50 microg/L. Thousands of hair, nail, and urine samples from people living in arsenic-affected villages have been analyzed to date; Bangladesh and West Bengal, 93 and 77% samples, on an average, contained arsenic above the normal/toxic level. We surveyed 27 of 42 districts in Bangladesh for arsenic patients; we identified patients with arsenical skin lesions in 25 districts. In West Bengal, we identified patients with lesions in seven of nine districts. We examined people from the affected villages at random for arsenical dermatologic features (11,180 and 29,035 from Bangladesh and West Bengal, respectively); 24.47 and 15.02% of those examined, respectively, had skin lesions. After 10 years of study in West Bengal and 5 in Bangladesh, we feel that we have seen only the tip of iceberg.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (2.2M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Das D, Chatterjee A, Samanta G, Mandal B, Chowdhury TR, Samanta G, Chowdhury PP, Chanda C, Basu G, Lodh D, et al. Arsenic contamination in groundwater in six districts of West Bengal, India: the biggest arsenic calamity in the world. Analyst. 1994 Dec;119(12):168N–170N. [PubMed]
  • Das D, Chatterjee A, Mandal BK, Samanta G, Chakraborti D, Chanda B. Arsenic in ground water in six districts of West bengal, India: the biggest arsenic calamity in the world. Part 2. Arsenic concentration in drinking water, hair, nails, urine, skin-scale and liver tissue (biopsy) of the affected people. Analyst. 1995 Mar;120(3):917–924. [PubMed]
  • Bagla P, Kaiser J. India's spreading health crisis draws global arsenic experts. Science. 1996 Oct 11;274(5285):174–175. [PubMed]
  • Mandal BK, Chowdhury TR, Samanta G, Mukherjee DP, Chanda CR, Saha KC, Chakraborti D. Impact of safe water for drinking and cooking on five arsenic-affected families for 2 years in West Bengal, India. Sci Total Environ. 1998 Jul 30;218(2-3):185–201. [PubMed]
  • Guha Mazumder DN, Haque R, Ghosh N, De BK, Santra A, Chakraborty D, Smith AH. Arsenic levels in drinking water and the prevalence of skin lesions in West Bengal, India. Int J Epidemiol. 1998 Oct;27(5):871–877. [PubMed]
  • Tseng WP, Chu HM, How SW, Fong JM, Lin CS, Yeh S. Prevalence of skin cancer in an endemic area of chronic arsenicism in Taiwan. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1968 Mar;40(3):453–463. [PubMed]
  • Smith AH, Hopenhayn-Rich C, Bates MN, Goeden HM, Hertz-Picciotto I, Duggan HM, Wood R, Kosnett MJ, Smith MT. Cancer risks from arsenic in drinking water. Environ Health Perspect. 1992 Jul;97:259–267. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Farmer JG, Johnson LR. Assessment of occupational exposure to inorganic arsenic based on urinary concentrations and speciation of arsenic. Br J Ind Med. 1990 May;47(5):342–348. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Environmental Health Perspectives are provided here courtesy of National Institute of Environmental Health Science

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Compound
    Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...