Online News Articles & Reference Materials

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News articles, reports, project documents on  the Bengal arsenic crisis

In addition to the articles etc. listed below, see also these other ACIC webpages: EngConsult's archive of arsenic articles 1996-2002

Articles etc, most recent first:

9149 tubewells contaminated with arsenic in C'nawabganj - New Nation (Dhaka), 23 May 2003.  "Arsenic situation has turned alarming in the district with increased contamination in underground water. According to the concerned sources, out of 47024 tubewells 9149 tube wells have been affected with arsenic contamination in the district. Although affected tubewells have been being marked red, people are yet to abandon drinking water of the affected tubewells as they have no alternative source of pure water.  An SDC-WATSAN partnership project tested 48,426 tubewells and detected 1165 tubewells in Sadar upazila, 5299 in Shibganj , 74 in Nachole, 799 in Gomostapur, 154 in Bholahat and 1658 in the purashabha area affected with arsenic. The worst affected areas are in Chapainawabganj Pourashabha and Shibganj upazila.

"Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation water supply project (BAMWSP) has taken up a scheme to set up water treatment plant in Chapainawabganj Pourashabha at a cost of about Tk. 22 crore for supplying arsenic free water, sources in the Chapainawabganj Municipality office said. Feasibility of the project has already been made. The World Bank will donated 80 per cent of the total expenditure, the source added. According to the Project, water will be lifted from the river Mohananda and purified in an overhead tank. The project is likely to be executed in two phases. In the first phase, the arrangement will be made to supply arsenic free water through the existing supply system. It will take 6 to 9 months. The second phase will be executed in 3 years and after the completion of the second phase arsenic free water will be supplied 24 hours. Only 2 lakh people of the Chapainawabganj Pourashabha area are going to be benefited after the completion of the project but what will happen to the lot of the rest 12 lakh people in the district, people ponder."

WB to fund water plant in arsenic-hit Chapainawabganj - Daily Star, 17 May.  "The World Bank (WB) will provide Tk 26.5 crore for setting up a water treatment plant at Chaipainawabganj municipality which has the worst arsenic contamination of groundwater in the country. Officials of the WB and Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP) are now finalising an agreement in this regard.  The plant, to be installed as a BAMWSP project, will treat water from the nearby Mahananda river, a tributary of the Padma, and supply it to about 2.43 lakh consumers at the district town. The decision was taken on the basis of feasibility studies in the last few years. In phase one of the project, water supply would be raised to 10,000 cubic metres per day from 4,000 cubic metres now. In two years, supply will be raised to 100,000 cubic metres per day. Consumers would then get water supply for 20 hours a day against eight hours at present.  Phase two of the project envisages privatisation of operation and maintenance of the plant and water supply system.  Under the project, water supply network would be expanded to cover the entire 25-square kilometre municipal area. About 40 per cent people of the town now get water supply from the municipality. Experts testing water samples from deep tube-wells (DTWs) at Chaipainawabganj in had detected more than 0.2 mg/L of arsenic in water. This was far beyond permissible level, which is 0.05 mg/L. The finding was kept a secret till The Daily Star ran a report on it in April 2001.  Water from seven out of 17 deep tube-wells of the municipality was found contaminated much above the permissible level Two deep tube-wells were sealed off recently as arsenic level was more than 1 mg/L. Besides, a recent survey shows water from about 60 per cent of more than 2,000 shallow tube-wells installed at private initiative in the town is also contaminated. The municipal areas with contaminated water include Namang-shukaraboti, Nakhrajpara, Durga-pur, Kathalbagicha, Haluabandha, Nayansukla and Chandlai."

Water watch protocol finalized - By Naimul Haq, 13 May 2003.  NFB.  "In a big step forward to fight the dreaded arsenic contamination of groundwater, the long awaited 'water quality surveillance protocol for rural water supply options in Bangladesh' has been finalised. Already approved by the local government ministry, the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) would start implementing the protocol shortly, officials said yesterday. The protocol provides for monitoring and periodic tests of water quality in various drinking water options."

British HC verdict: Each arsenic victim likely to get £ 5,000 – New Nation (Bangladesh), 11 May 2003.  [The statement made in the headline is, so far as I can tell, untrue, and the result of poor reporting of remarks made at a press conference by representatives of Bangladesh organizations with an interest in the lawsuit]

People of 2 districts drink poison with water - New Nation (Dhaka), 10 May 2003.  "Poor people in two southern districts [Barisal and Faridpur] having no access to safe potable water, drinking poison with water and inching towards dire consequences of arsenic. These people, who are already fighting poverty, also have no access to treatment to beat the arsenic poisoning.  The people with arsenicosis in Barisal and Faridpur are heading towards immature end of their life since they have no ability to get the medicines from markets, local sources said. Experts say there is no permanent answer to arsenic contamination yet, but some physicians prescribe increased protein intake, skin ointments (Salicylic Acid) and anti-oxidant tablet (Rex) as interim treatments to arsenicosis, a ground water chemical contamination that has posed a serious threat to safe drinking water for millions.  Rizia Begum (40) of village Balihatibazar under Bhanga upazila, tested arsenicosis positive just five months ago with itching in skins and pain in muscles. She told a group of visiting journalists recently that she was gradually getting weaker. An uncertain future is haunting her since she is not getting any treatment. Since she tested arsenicosis positive, she has been taking 'safe water' from an Arsenic-Iron Removal Plant (AIRP) provided by the NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation and the Japanese NGO Hunger Free World. 'But the pain is still existing. I want to buy some medicine. To that end I am saving Taka one or two from earning of my tennage son,' Rizia said.  Many hit by arsenic in Khudrakati Village under Babuganj upazila in Barisal district echoed the concern of Rizia saying they are also drinking the poison for the past three year since they have no access to safe water. The government has made some arrangement of safe water but that too short to meet the requirement, she added. Women arsenicosis patients in the village said they could get medicines from a nearby upazila hospital earlier spending Taka 50, but that too has gone because there is no supply in the hospital now. Some of them said to afford Taka 50 a week is very difficult for them.  'We buy ointment to reduce skin itching and the tablets to check muscle pull. But this medicine is now in short supply, which has increased our suffering manifold,' Aklima Akter, a student of class ten and also a patient said. Aklima said the people of her village no more drinking water from tubewells contaminated with arsenic poison. They are taking rain water or water from deep tubewells.   'The situation is now a bit better than that of the previous years,' she said, adding that they now want medicine and better treatment of the disease that silently killing people."

Scientists facing action over Bangladesh water survey - By Nikki Tait, FT Syndication Service - 10 May 2003.  NFB.  "LONDON: A damages action that alleges British government-backed scientists were negligent when they assessed groundwater supplies in Bangladesh, is to go ahead after a ruling in the High Court in London late last week. The decision could have implications for hundreds of Bangladeshis who claim to be suffering from arsenic poisoning. It is also likely to have a broader impact on the potential liability of other scientists employed on aid projects in developing countries. "This is of great concern to the scientific community and those who fund it," one lawyer told the court yesterday."

Arsenic victims win right to trial - BBC, 8 May 2003. "Lawyers representing some 750 victims of arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh have won the first stage of a legal battle in London in which they are accusing a British survey organisation of negligence. The High Court ruled that the British Geological Survey had a case to answer over claims it should have carried out tests for arsenic in a 1992 survey on the toxicity of Bangladesh well water. The judge, Mr Justice Simon, ruled that the case should go to full trial. In its attempt to have the case dismissed, the BSG said its survey was part of an irrigation project, and had nothing to do with drinking water. Some reports suggest arsenic in groundwater in Bangladesh and eastern India has affected millions of people, and caused up to 3,000 deaths a year."

Two Bangladeshis file case against British organization in London: Arsenic case hearing begins - New Nation (Dhaka), 7 May 2003.  

Arsenic threat in Bangladesh - article by Bob Forsberg based on a Radio Netherlands feature by Sakil Faizullah, 6 May 2003.  Listen to the clip in English on Real Player. The Bangladesh story starts about 12 minutes into the clip.

Arsenic mitigation: Report at cabinet meeting soon - New Nation (Dhaka), 3 May.  "LGRD and Cooperative Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan on Saturday said that a secretarial-level report on mitigation of arsenic would be placed at the cabinet meeting soon for approval. He was speaking at an inaugural session of a seminar on 'Safe Water and Sanitation: Emerging Challenge in Bangladesh', organised by Dhaka Ahsania Mission at its conference room in the city yesterday…. [He] said, "It is expected that the arsenic problem will be solved when work will be done according to recommendation of secretary-level committee." He said arsenic in water is a big problem for the people. "Some parts of the country are being affected by the arsenic which causing harmful for the people especially for the unconsciousness and poor people," he said. He warned the people not to drink the water with arsenic and use alternative sources of water…."

'Exposure to arsenic increase risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes' - 13 April 03.  NFB.  "Chronic arsenic exposure through drinking water has the potential to cause adverse pregnancy outcomes, the weekly meeting of Green Force under the auspices of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA) was told yesterday. Green Force, a BAPA-backed forum of young environment researchers, held the meeting at T.S.C. seminar room. Eight young researchers from home and abroad presented the keynote papers on "Chronic Arsenic Exposure and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Bangladesh." The researchers were Abul Hasnat Milton, Bayzidur Rahman, Ziaul Hasan, Umme Kulsum, Azhar Ali Pramanik, M Rakibuddin, Keith Dear and Wayne Smith."

VMS6 and clean water can be effective treatment for arsenic victims: study - 6 Apr 03.  NFB.  "A combination of antioxidants (VMS6) and clean water could be an effective treatment for the arsenic victims, reports BSS. This was revealed in a study on "Control Clinical Trial of Antioxidant in Arsenicosis in Bangladesh" conducted by a research group of the Bangladesh Arsenic Control Society (BACS). VMS6 is a mixture caplet of six vitamins and minerals (beta carotene, ascorbic acid, alpha tocopherol, folic acid, zinc and selenium)."

Bangladesh arsenic case begins.  BBC 25 March 2003.  By Alastair Lawson, BBC correspondent in Dhaka.

Arsenic contamination detected in 597 tubewells - 2 Mar 03.  NFB.  "...Public Health Engineering Department sources said water of 1738 tubewells were examined in the area under Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project and it was detected in 597 tubewells. Besides, arsenic contamination has been detected in the waters of two deep tubewells of the water supply system of the pourashava. Locals said these tubewells have been sealed off without any alternative arrangement of supply of pure water in the area. The sources said some 38 arsenic related disease affected people have been identified in the area."

Arsenic detected in tube-wells water - 1 Mar 03.  NFB.  "Arsenic beyond limit has been detected in the waters of 15,000 tube-wells in Rajarhat and Ulipur upazilas of the district. A total of 387 people have been identified as attacked with arsenic related disease. After the detection of arsenic in tube-wells waters, no pragmatic measures have been undertaken to find a solution to the menace during the last one year except the work of marking the tube-wells red and green under Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project through an NGO in collaboration with Public Health Engineering Department. The work involved lakhs of taka."

Dupitila formation free of arsenic - 1 Mar 03.  NFB.  "Experts said here on Thursday that extensive mapping of Duptila formation, an arsenic free geological layer, should be done for safe groundwater extraction in the country. Hydro geologist and executive member Bangladesh Geological Society Nurun Nabi told BSS that the geologists are almost unanimous that country's Dupitila formations are free from arsenic contamination."

Quest for arsenic-free drinking water - Draft policy may be okayed Monday by Naimul Haq, Daily Star 10 May 2003.  "The policy highlights emergency steps to provide alternative safe drinking water options to arsenic-affected areas, rehabilitation of serious arsenic patients and research on arsenic in food chain, sources in the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry (LGRD) said. It would set a guideline for mitigating the effect of arsenic on humans and environment in a suitable way. Under the policy, all tubewells and irrigation wells will be screened and monitored regularly to identify which have been contaminated. Arsenic patients and people at risk will also be identified to provide remedy...."

Arsenic victims sue top science body by John Vidal for The Guardian (UK) 9 May

Millions more at risk of arsenic poisoning than previously thought.  By Sanjay Kumar.  News roundup, British Medical Journal 326:466, 1 Mar 2003. 

Arsenic shrinks safe water access - 20 Feb 2003.  Daily Star, by Naimul Haq.

Asia's arsenic crisis deepens - another Indian state [Bihar] succumbs to well water poisoning. Tom Clarke. Nature Science Update, 15 February 2003. 

Arsenic reducing techniques and unwarranted hurdles by Sylvia Mortoza, The Bangladesh Observer 14 Jan 2003 / NFB 10 Feb 2003.  

Arsenic warning to watercress gatherers. 28 January 2003. [Original article no longer online - but see  Arsenic removal: aquatic plants a potential low-cost solution - at Source Water & Sanitation News]  "Aquatic plants may provide an answer to problems with arsenic-contaminated drinking water, Hortresearch scientist Brent Robinson said yesterday…. Dr Robinson said a survey of aquatic plants from geothermal regions around Taupo and Rotorua, and the Waikato River, had shown they were accumulating concentrations of up to 3000 parts per million of arsenic. "This may be a low-cost means of improving public health in countries like Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, where there are high levels of arsenic in the water that can result in widespread poisoning...." Dr Robinson said the survey could also have health implications for New Zealanders who gathered large quantities of watercress for eating in streams fed with geothermal water. 

Irrigation taints Bangladeshi rice with arsenic - food, as well as drinking water contaminated with poison. 22 November 2002. By Tom Clarke.  (c) WHO/TDR.  Arsenic is getting into rice, Bangladesh's staple crop, through irrigation water pumped from contaminated soils, researchers have found. Another study shows that the act of pumping water for irrigation can raise its arsenic levels. The findings worsen the outlook for Bangladesh's water safety crisis.... Where there were arsenic-tainted irrigation pumps, [Meharg & Rahman] found high levels of arsenic in soils. Rice from contaminated regions, contained dangerous levels of arsenic. Rice from elsewhere did not. Three samples contained more than 1.7 milligrams of arsenic per kilogram of rice. The maximum safe level for food in Australia ... is one milligram per kilogram.  Rice comprises 73% of a Bangladeshi's caloric intake and arsenic is in much of the country's groundwater.

Pumping makes a big difference - At one experimental site in Bangladesh, Harvey's team found that irrigation wells could be compounding the arsenic problem as they draw water through aquifers.... When water rich in organic matter flows through aquifers it feeds bacteria; higher levels of arsenic result, they find.  Eventually pumping could remove arsenic from aquifers if it draws clean water through. But the finding points to the need to understand the effect of irrigation pumping on arsenic contamination. "Hopefully these findings could be useful for future planning of wells," says Harvey.

Field kits fail to provide accurate measure of arsenic in groundwater. By Britt E.Erickson. Technology News - November 8, 2002. Environmental Science & Technology Online News. [Also published in the print journal - Environmental Science & Technology, January 1, 2003, pp.35A-38A]

Arsenic 2002, by the NGO Arsenic Information & Support Unit of the NGO Forum on Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation.  Essentially this is an update of WaterAid's report Arsenic 2000.

Arsenic gene cleans up - researchers create a new strategy for removing arsenic from soil. October 14, 2002 Geology News, The Geological Society of London. "Researchers create a new strategy for removing arsenic from soil. A team of researchers in the USA has developed the first transgenic system for removing arsenic from the soil by using genetically modified plants. The new system could have a major impact on arsenic pollution, which is a dramatic and growing threat to the environment and to human and animal health worldwide. The scientists were able to insert two genes from the common bacterium Escherichia coli that allow a member of the mustard family called Arabidopsis to tolerate arsenic, which is usually lethal to plants. Arabidopsis can then remove arsenic from the soil and transport it to the plant's leaves in a form which is far less biologically available in the environment."

Arsenic Public Health Project Update.  World Bank October 2002 Monthly Operational Summary.  "The purpose of the project is to support arsenic-related public health activities of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and NGOs. Contrary to a previous agreement, the Government recently indicated that the project will be designed and implemented outside the framework of the Health and Population Sector Program. The Government also indicated that the project scope and content would change to a "curative" project and that the research component would be downsized. Given the lack of a "cure" for arsenic related health problems and the urgent need for research in the field, these alterations along with the failure to comply with the design framework agreement have stalled project preparation indefinitely. The earlier scheduled Board presentation in the third quarter of FY 2003 cannot be met. Environmental Assessment Category C. PID: BDPE76693. US$ 40.0 (IDA). Consultants will be required. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bldg. 3, Rm. 341, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh, Tel: (880-2) 861-6979, 861-6708, 861-0469, Fax: (880-2) 8619077, Contact: Mr. Wahid Khan, Joint Chief, Planning"

Differences on arsenic project patched up.   Daily Star (Bangladesh) 7 Oct 2002.  "The government and the World Bank are likely to sign tomorrow an agreement on extension of the $44.5 million Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP). At a meeting yesterday afternoon, Local Government, Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperatives Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan yesterday afternoon and the WB officials resolved that the project should continue.... A number of 'flaws' in the project was identified, he said. 'Some of these have already been redressed and others would be taken care of soon.'  Mannan Bhuiyan defended the government decision to change the BAMWSP project director. 'The government has brought some major changes in the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE). There were allegations of corruption against some officials while promotions for some others were outstanding....'"

The Arsenic Saga Updated - By Sylvia Mortoza. NFB, 7 Oct 2002.

Call to sink tubewells in arsenic-hit areas. BSS (Bangladesh), 6 Oct 2002.

Arsenic affected people demand safe drinking water. BSS (Bangladesh), 5 Oct 2002.

No headway in talks on arsenic project funding - The Daily Star (Bangladesh), 2 Oct 2002.  "There has been no development in a crucial meeting between the government and the World Bank (WB) over the fate of the Tk 189 crore Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP) that formally ended Monday. A meeting to decide whether the WB would continue funding the project was held yesterday afternoon between the state minister for Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) and WB's senior environment specialist Paul Martin.The meeting ended without any decision on the extension of the project.  The government, however, decided to continue funding the project from its own sources. A meeting in this regard was held with the state minister on Monday. Bank officials in the meeting insisted that the government should complete the listed action plans, if the project is to receive continued funding. An anonymous source in the bank said, 'The government did not keep its promise to reach the goals, as agreed, in the four years. So, basically we expected an assurance from the state minister that the money this time would be utilised as planned.'" ... 

WB pressure on ministry hindering arsenic project - UNB (Bangladesh), 2 Oct 2002.  "Public Health Engineering Department officials yesterday said World Bank's wrong policy and its unwarranted interference in internal affairs hindered implementation of the arsenic mitigation project. They were highly critical of the World Bank's local representative for 'unexpected pressure' on the ministry for reinstatement of a Project Director who was transferred.  The criticism of the World Bank official came at a review meeting on progress of the projects under the 2002-2003 Annual Development Programme (ADP) at the conference room of the Local Government Engineering Department. State Minister Ziaul Huq Zia presided over the meeting. Poor management, irregularities, involving name-sake NGOs at various stages have caused financial loss to the government as well as deprived millions of people of arsenic-free safe water, the meeting observed.  Started in July 1998, the Tk 179 crore Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation and Water Supply Project (BAMWSP) was scheduled to be completed in three years. But so far only 22 percent work has been done and Tk 9 crore out of Tk 43 crore from the government share of the fund for the project was spent so far. Although there was target to screen arsenic free tube well in 188 upazilas, it was done in only 42 upazilas, the meeting noted terming the progress totally 'dissatisfactory.'..." 

ADB gathering data on arsenic contamination - The Financial Express (Bangladesh), 27 Sep 2002.  "A water resources specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Thursday said that the bank was currently studying and gathering information relating to the arsenic contamination in the underground water of Bangladesh. 'ADB is yet to initiate any programme to assist Bangladesh in mitigating arsenic problem. We, the ADB, require better understanding of this problem in this regard,' ADB water resources specialist Wouter Lincklaen Arriens told the newsmen.  The five-day-long Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation Workshop on Water and Poverty concluded Thursday. Bangladesh Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO) and Brac jointly organised the workshop with support from the ADB and the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark...."

Poison in the Well.  Radio Netherlands, based on a report by Sakil Faizullah, 26 September 2002

Arsenic contaminated tube-well waters create panic - NFB, 21 Sep 2002.

50,000 suffering from arsenic poisoning in Chandpur - NFB, 19 Sep 2002.

Arsenic awareness inadequate among rural people, dialogue told - NFB, 13 Aug 2002.

Anti-arsenic fight founders; Aid money goes down the drain.  NFB, 12 Aug 2002.

Bangladeshis take British scientists to court over arsenic in drinking water.  By Robert Verkaik Legal Affairs Correspondent The Independent (UK 12 Aug 2002).  "A group of Bangladeshis has begun legal proceedings at the High Court in London against British scientists over allegations that they failed to prevent arsenic poisoning of thousands of people.  In a writ lodged this week, the Bangladeshi villagers claim that the British Geological Survey (BGS) was negligent in work it did in central and eastern Bangladesh in 1992 to assess toxicity after aid programmes paid for sinking new wells...." 

IDA to provide $40m to fight arsenic.  BSS (Bangladesh) 11 Aug 2002.  "Bangladesh will receive 40 million US dollars from International Development Agency (IDA), a World Bank Group member, for arsenic mitigation under a public health project to be undertaken from next year. The Appraisal date of the Arsenic Public Health Project (APHP), which will cost 45 million dollars, has been fixed on March 25 next year when the Bank is due to approve the project. The fund comes in the form of lending, IDA officials said. The objective of the APHP is to assist Bangladesh in reducing the incidence and prevalence of diseases caused by arsenic contamination of drinking water and strengthen national capacity to address public health aspects of arsenic in the long term, including the capacity for surveillance, monitoring and evaluation.  The IDA sources said the project would seek to prevent new cases of arsenicosis and treat those already affected. The strategies included behaviour change communication to educate the general people about arsenic contamination of drinking water, its health effects, means to avoid exposure to the disease and the facts about realistic treatment options.  The project also aims at enhancing health sector capacity for the surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of arsenic-related diseases along with counselling of patients, promotion of research on prevalence, incidence and treatment to enable sound public health planning and intervention, development of patient management tools.  The IDA officials said the strategies would be developed into four project components while the project would be managed as an integral part of the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP), and will complement arsenic mitigation activities underway within the IDA- financed Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP).  The project, however, will not include water testing or provision of drinking water alternatives, as these activities are being overseen by Ministry of Local Government and covered under BAMWSP and numerous local NGO programmes...."

Water filter set to save lives.  By Alistair Lawson, BBC correspondent in Dhaka, 14 Jul 2002.  'A Bangladeshi professor is due to formally launch a new water filter on Sunday, which its backers say will save millions of lives around the world. The filter, which contains a mixture of crushed bricks and ferrous sulphate heated together, will be showcased at the world conference on arsenic poisoning in the United States. It is specifically designed to extract arsenic and lead from millions of tube wells all over the country. Supporters of the filter say it could prove to be a major breakthrough in the battle against arsenic poisoning....

'"About a year and a half ago, a professor came into my office and asked if I could help him, and I said 'certainly, I'll try'," said academic David Nunley.  Professor Fakhrul Islam then told David Nunley, of the non-governmental organisation International Development Enterprises, about the water filter and asked for his help in its promotion....

'The filter has been invented by a Bangladeshi scientist for Bangladeshis, only costs around $3, and can supply enough drinking water every day for a family of four. So highly acclaimed is the invention that the United Nations is helping to organise a campaign that will distribute the filter to every village in the country....

'Already, the filter has been introduced on a trial basis to villages across the country. For women like Koli, the affect has been remarkable. "The people in our village know this filter can save their lives. Many people who had the first signs of arsenic poisoning have now been cured," she said.'

Bangladeshis sipping arsenic as plan for safe water stalls. By Barry Bearak, The New York Times 14 Jul 2002. Excellent overview article on the current situation in Bangladesh.

Local arsenic testkit developed - The Daily Star (Bangladesh), 3 Jul 2002.  "A local pharmaceutical company has developed a cost-effective, user- friendly arsenic field test kit. This was claimed by the manufacturer of the kit, General Pharmaceutical Ltd (GPL), at a press conference in the city yesterday.  The kit, containing various reagents, chemicals and outfit for testing the presence of arsenic concentration in tubewell water or any sample of drinking water, is the first of its kind developed using local technology.  The kit, an improved version of its older model, has been recently developed and can test one hundred samples on the site wherever the tubewell is located and the result is instantly given.  'The lowest range of arsenic, the kit can test, is 10 parts per billion (ppb) and the highest is 3,000 ppb and each test will roughly cost Tk 22 to 25,' said Mir Zaki Azam Chowdhury, marketing manager of GPL.  He said each kit will cost around Tk 2,300 compared to imported portable kits whose cost range is Tk 2,800 and above....  The test takes just 20 minutes, using a pretreated cotton wool to overcome any sulfide interference. Exposure to chemical reaction is minimised....  'The advantage of the kit is that it has only two steps for testing water samples and unlike the previous model where liquid acid was used, the new kit has solid acid to avoid any risk of spillage or damage to skin while testing,' said Dr Haq. 

Arsenic project dumped? - The Independent (Bangladesh), 28 Jun 2002.  "A US$ 40 million International Development Association (IDA) loan for an arsenic mitigation project has run into rough weather. In the absence of any regular department or agency to take its responsibility, the project has turned into a veritable orphan, informed sources told The Independent yesterday.  Over the last four years, the Arsenic Mitigation Project has succeeded in spending only about five per cent of its fund, that too mostly in the form of office rent, staff salary among others, as there was no drive for field work....  The BAMWSP was to undertake surveys to properly identify the problems and viable safe water alternatives in about 200 upazilas out of 265 that were identified as hot spots in respect of arsenic contamination.  Another 45 upazilas were earmarked for work by the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) and the Unicef (United Nations Children's Fund), 15 by the World Vision and eight by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Work in these upazilas progressed well, but the nearly 200 upazilas directly under the BAMWSP remained uncared for....  Informed sources told The Independent that Unicef and DPHE have completed the screening of all tubewells in the 45 upazilas earmarked for them, but did not have the funds to initiate testing all tubewells in the rest of the country. Nor do they have the mandate to do so until some changes are made in the BAMWSP.  The sources said that because of non-utilisation of the US$ 40 million IDA loan, donors are refusing to commit fresh money to any organisation on the plea that those willing to work for arsenic mitigation can make use of the unutilised funds. But for all practical purposes it is not available to others.  An official with experience in field work lamented, 'We would have been better placed for support from donors had there been no unutilised IDA funds for the arsenic mitigation project.'  Lack of work during the last four years might have brought many people taking arsenic contaminated water to the brink of arsenicosis, the first stage of arsenic- related ailments. They could be cured simply by ensuring the supply of arsenic-free safe water....  According to Unicef officials, it costs around US$1 to test each tubewell. Based on this costing they might need barely US$ 8 million to test all the tube wells now in service."

Arsenic contamination takes serious turn in Chandpur.  The Independent (Dhaka), 26 Jun 2002.

53.84pc tubewells sealed off.  BSS (Bangladesh), 26 Jun 2002.  "As many as 554,081 tube wells representing 53.84 per cent of the total 1,028,137 surveyed so far in 61 districts have already been sealed off due to arsenic contamination. Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan said this while replying to a question from Golam M Siraj of BNP from Bogra in the Jatiya Sangsad Tuesday. 'The government has undertaken steps to sink arsenic-free tube wells in those areas to supply pure drinking water among the common people,' he said."

Arsenic contamination sharply cuts access to safe water - The Independent (Dhaka), 25 Jun

WB bails out 4 towns. - The Daily Star (Dhaka), 15 Jun 2002

Removing arsenic from the human body safely and effectively - Editorial by Sylvia Mortoza, The Independent (Dhaka), 12 Jun 2002.

Arsenic contamination takes serious turn in Narail, BSS (Bangladesh), 12 Jun 2002.

Arsenic in the food chain by Sylvia Mortoza.  NFB (Bangladesh), 11 Jun 2002.

Breakthrough in arsenic removal from human body. 11 Jun 2002.

Arsenic-contaminated water now being supplied in four towns. The Daily Star (Dhaka), 10 Jun 2002

81 pc Bhanga HTW's arsenic affected, Faridpur workshop reveals.  BSS (Bangladesh), 9 Jun 2002

96 p.c. tubewells found arsenic contaminated in 12 villages of Chuadanga. BSS (Bangladesh), 8 Jun 2002.

Arsenic creeps into food chain, impact on health still unknown. The Daily Star (Dhaka), 6 Jun 2002.

109 suffering from arsenicosis in Charghat UZ in Rajshahi. The Daily Star (Dhaka), 12 May 2002

Arsenic panic in Faridpur. The Daily Star (Dhaka), 11 May 2002.

Give us pure drinking water, cry villagers - 85 pc tubewells in Manikganj union contain arsenic poison. BSS (Bangladesh), 7 May 2002.

Arsenic in the groundwater, by Sylvia Mortoza. NFB (Bangladesh), 29 Apr 2002-10-08

Govt to promote rainwater as solution to arsenic. BSS (Bangladesh), 28 Apr 2002.

14 more arsenicosis patients detected. UNB (Bangladesh), 2002.

Spend half of profits to fight arsenic - Speakers urge beverage cos at a seminar in city. BSS (Bangladesh), 13 Apr 2002.

Number of arsenic patients on the rise in Satkhira. BSS (Bangladesh), 12 Apr 2002.

Arsenic menace haunts thousands in Meherpur - 80 pc tubewells contaminated, 40 pc suffer from malady. Bangladesh Observer, 5 Apr 2002.

BRRI arsenic laboratory inaugurated. The Independent (Bangladesh), 2 Apr 2002.

Excessive arsenicosis [sic] in tubewells: Shariatpur people panicky. Bangladesh Observer, 31 Mar 2002.

Arsenic detected in 8,000 tubewells in Munshiganj. The Independent (Bangladesh), 30 Mar 2002.

Arsenic - mass poisoning on an unprecedented scale. World Health Organization Fact Sheet No. 206, March 2002.

Arsenic poses stroke risk, BBC News Online, 26 Mar 2002.

Arsenic contamination takes serious turn in Nabinagar. BSS (Bangladesh), 25 Mar 2002.

Go-slow arsenic project worries donors - fund disbursement unsatisfactory. Daily Star (Dhaka), 22 Mar 2002.

Arsenic beyond permissible limit found in water of DTWs. Financial Express (Dhaka), 21 Mar 2002.

Tackling the Arsenic Disaster - Sylvia Mortoza. NFB, 21 Mar 2002.

Arsenic - mass poisoning on an unprecedented scale. World Health Organization Fact Sheet No. 206, March 2002.

Ceramic filters - effective household option for bacteria-free water.  Source Water And Sanitation Weekly, Issue No. 7-8, 26 Feb 2002.  "USAID-funded research has shown that the Potters for Peace (PFP) (Nicaragua) colloidal silver impregnated ceramic filter effectively reduces bacterial indicators by 98-100% in the laboratory. Filters as old as 7 years were tested and found to still remove 100% of total and faecal coliform. Although results for other contaminants were inconclusive, the ceramic filter seemed to be less effective in removing viruses, arsenic, pesticides and volatile organic contaminants (VOCs). The research, conducted by Daniele Lantagne, MIT Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Principal of Alethia Environmental in Oct-Dec 2001, concludes that, "with an education component for the users, the PFP filter is an effective and appropriate technology that improves both water quality and human health."  This technology is being developed and promoted in Bangladesh as well.

Arsenic affecting Bangladesh crops - food self-sufficiency might no longer be enough.  By the BBC's science correspondent, Richard Black. 16 Jan 2002.

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #17, Dec 2001.

Bangladesh's poisoned wells - scientists and government officials bear collective responsibility for an unfolding tragedy.  Editorial, Nature 413(6856), 11 Oct 2001, p. 551. Thanks to John McArthur for sending along this and the previous reference.

Bangladeshis to sue over arsenic poisoning. News, Nature 413(6856), 11 Oct 2001.  The British Geological Survey (BGS) is preparing to defend itself against a threatened lawsuit alleging that it is partly to blame for what has been described as the worst mass poisoning in history.  The claimants are Bangladeshi villagers who drank arsenic- contaminated water from wells dug by the BGS during the 1980s and early 1990s. The number of claimants could run into thousands. They intend to file a group-action suit in Britain alleging that the BGS's failure to test the well-water for arsenic makes the agency responsible for their poisoning.  On legal advice, BGS officials declined to be interviewed about the allegations. But in a statement, the BGS vigorously denies culpability: "Any legal claims, which we regard as wholly misconceived, will be resisted."  The suit is being prepared by Leigh, Day and Co., a London- based law firm that specializes in this type of case. Some researchers fear that the threat of such suits may deter scientists from working on aid projects in the developing world.

Tubewells in disorder, people drinking arsenic contaminated water [no longer online].  The Independent (Dhaka) 5 Oct 2001.

Taskforce to explore feasibility of deep tube-wells [no longer online].  By Naimul Haq, The Daily Star (Dhaka), 5 Oct 2001.

Rainwater harvesting should be taken seriously.  Source Bulletin, No.19, Oct 2001.

Telefilm on Arsenic Poisoning - Bangladesh.  Communication Initiative website, 15 September 2001.  Summary: The Asian Development Bank has given a grant to the Bangladesh NGO, FEMCOM, to produce a television film to raise awareness about arsenic poisoning, its symptoms and how it can be prevented. The project involves production of 5 25-minute episodes of a telefilm entitled, "Water is Life, Water is Death." The final product will be broadcast on TV and disseminated to community groups and NGOs.

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #16, Sep 2001.

Arsenic victims file appeal with [Bangladesh] court seeking Tk12.5 crore [no longer online].  The New Nation (Dhaka), 28 Aug 2001.

100 affected by arsenic in Chuadanga [no longer online].  UNB (Bangladesh), 28 Aug 2001.

120 affected by arsenic in Kalaroa UZ of Satkhira [no longer online].  UNB (Bangladesh), 21 Aug 2001.

Indigenous solutions to arsenic problem underscored.  The Independent (Dhaka), 21 Aug 2001.

Programme on arsenic mitigation taken up in Barisal [no longer online].  BSS (Bangladesh), 17 Aug 2001.

Seminar on Arsenic at Islamic University (Dhaka) today.  [no longer online] 13 Aug 2001.

Experts favour master plan to develop groundwater resources - Steps to contain arsenic contamination stressed [no longer online].  The Independent (Dhaka), 8 Aug 2001.

Arsenic pollution survey completed in 31 upazilas [no longer online].  BSS (Bangladesh), 7 Aug 2001.

US firm field tests arsenic treatment unit in 5 villages [no longer online]. The Independent (Dhaka), 3 Aug 2001.

Arsenic contamination found in 5,114 tubewells of Kurigram [no longer online].  The Independent (Dhaka), 1 Aug 2001.

US experts visit arsenic patients in Hajiganj [no longer online].  The Independent (Dhaka), 31 Jul 2001.

UK lawyers to submit report to British Legal Aid System next week [no longer online].  The Independent (Dhaka), 27 Jul 2001.

British law firm to fund legal claim of arsenic patients [no longer online].  UNB (Bangladesh), 26 Jul 2001.

Arsenic panic in eight upazilas of Chandpur [no longer online]. The Daily Star (Dhaka), 25 Jul 2001.

Mistakes that come home to roost.  By Sylvia Mortoza [Editorial] [no longer online].  13 Jul 2001.

A sickening thought.  By Sylvia Mortoza [Editorial] [no longer online].  9 Jul 2001.

Water of 98 %  tubewells found arsenic contaminated in Jessore - Measures taken to ensure pure drinking water [no longer online].  The Bangladesh Observer (Dhaka), 7 Jul 2001.

Arsenic mitigation dilemma - Experts caught between treatment of surface and [arsenic] contaminated [ground] water [no longer online].  The Daily Star (Dhaka), 6 Jul 2001.

57m Bangladeshi may die of arsenic [sic] - International study says [no longer online].  UNB (Bangladesh), 4 Jul 2001.

Arsenic expert, DU teacher killed in road accident [no longer online].  4 Jul 2001.

Arsenic panic grips greater Faridpur [no longer online].  The Daily Star (Dhaka), 4 Jul 2001.

Deep tubewells in arsenic-hit areas - HC issues show-cause notice on govt [no longer online].  The Independent (Dhaka), 2 Jul 2001.

Arsenic panic grips Jhenidah villages.  The Daily Star (Dhaka), 30 Jun 2001.

293 suffering from [arsenic related] diseases in Lalpur - Arsenic contents detected in water of 1782 out of 19173 tubewells [no longer online].  28 Jun 2001

Low-cost method developed to treat arsenic water - The Daily Star (Bangladesh), 11 Jun 2001.  Article on adsorption to enhanced activated alumina' (AAFS-50) method introduced in Bangladesh by Alcan Chemicals.

Comilla faces pure drinking water shortage & Rain water harvesting plant gaining ground in Barisal - BSS & The Independent (Bangladesh), 09 Jun 2001

Drinking water acute in Comilla due to arsenic contamination - UNB (Bangladesh), 05 Jun 2001.

50 lakh exposed to arsenic contamination in 11 dists - The Independent (Bangladesh) 04 Jun 2001.

Work on project to supply arsenic-free water begins - UNB (Bangladesh), 03 Jun 2001

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #15, Jun 2001.

95 pc of population has access to safe drinking water: UNICEF - The Bangladesh Observer, 01 Jun 2001

Prolonged arsenic exposure exacerbates diarrhoea, hypertension: experts - The Independent (Bangladesh), 29 May 2001

Taka two crore [USD 360,000] Swedish grant for arsenic mitigation - BSS (Bangladesh), 29 May 2001.  Article on funding for an new ICDDR, B-led project, Arsenic in Tubewell Water and Health Consequences, to begin 1  Jun 2001.  The project will focus on epidemiological research and mitigation in ICDDR,B's Matlab research area in Chandpur district. Project partners will include Linkoping University and Karolinska Institute in Sweden and BRAC in Bangladesh.

Arsenic may intoxicate food grains, vegetables: Experts warn - BSS (Bangladesh) 28 May 2001

Rainwater alternative to arsenic-contaminated water - BSS (Bangladesh) 22 May 2001

New method to make water arsenic free - BSS (Bangladesh) 22 May 2001.  Goldsmith Hamidur Rahman's method, demonstrated at Kurigram Press Club.

Over 20m people exposed to arsenic poisoning - UNB (Bangladesh) 22 May 2001.  According to a 72-page booklet published by the NGO Forum for Water Supply & Sanitation released on this date.

A Provision on Arsenic in Water -- in Bangladesh - Washington Post (USA) 21 May 2001.  "Tucked away in last week's $8.2 billion State Department authorization bill was a sense of the Congress resolution concerning arsenic standards for drinking water -- but in this case, water in Bangladesh."

Dugwells in arsenic-affected villages in Bangladesh safe - Independent (Bangladesh) 19 May 2001.  Chakraborti 1989-2000 study that found arsenic concentrations <50μg/l in 383 of 443 dugwells tested.

Arsenic contamination creates panic in Barisal - 18 May 2001.  

Arsenic contaminating groundwater in Bagerhat - 15 May 2001. 

Adda model can be followed to remove arsenic from tubewell water - Bangladesh Observer, 12 May 2001.  With assistance of the [The BUET-UNU arsenic mitigation] project ... 16 families of Adda [are using a] red bucket, one packet of chemicals supplied by BUET-UNU project, heaps of cow dung and sands and two simple plastic taps ... to filter the water free from arsenic....

Health, socio-economic condition worsened due to arsenic contamination - Bangladesh Observer, 11 May 2001.  Speakers at a [day-long seminar "Arsenic Pollution in Bangladesh" organised by Comilla Rotary Club] held at Comilla Diabetic Hospital auditorium told that health and socio-economic problem from arsenic in drinking water have already worsened.... Till January 1999, a total of 30,209 water samples were tested by DPHE in 61 districts where 7,192 samples have shown arsenic concentration more than the allowable limit (0.05 mg/1)....

Arsenic: Contaminated Water In Asia Puts Millions At Risk - UN Wire, 10 May 2001.  Experts at a UN meeting ["Geology and Health: Solving the Arsenic Crisis" convened by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Health Organization] in Bangkok last week warned that arsenic is contaminating drinking water and threatening the health of millions of people in Asia. Thousands in Bangladesh, China and India are already suffering from arsenic poisoning, they said during a three-day meeting which concluded last Friday.  The experts called for the establishment of a regional ESCAP center for the exchange of information and the prevention of arsenic poisoning in the affected countries (UN Newservice, 9 May). The 62 experts also called for detailed surveys, which "can provide important information to avoid contaminated water sources altogether" (ESCAP release, 9 May).

Arsenic Poisoning And An Uncertain Future - (Bangladesh) 10 May 2001.  Sylvia Mortoza column.

Arsenic panic in Bagerhat - UNB (Bangladesh) 8 May 2001.

US technology for removal of arsenic from water - Independent (Bangladesh) 7 May 2001.  About Stevens Technology for Arsenic Removal (STAR) & NGO Earth Identity Project (EIP) activities.

What price green revolution? - Arsenic level in ground water in 47 dists crosses WHO limit, says study - BSS (Bangladesh) 6 May 2001.  

Two lakh exposed to arsenic-linked diseases in Chapainawabganj - UNB (Bangladesh) 25 Apr 2001.  ... 86 per cent tube wells in the pourasabha areas [are]  pumping out arsenic contaminated water beyond permissible limit.

Thousands passing days amid arsenic fear, 15 die of arsenic related diseases -  Bangladesh Observer 20 Apr 2001.  ... According to DPHE there are 35000 hand pump tubewells in the district. Out of the total, 1013 hand pump tubewells were surveyed by DPHE Meherpur and more than 80 per cent were found to be arsenic contaminated above 0.05% mg/1...[A] way of detecting and removing arsenic easily from the contaminated water with a minimum cost by using herbal was invented by one young promising researcher Jaharul Islam of village Amjhupi under Sadar Upazila of the district. A total of 500 hand pump tubwells of different villages of the district had been tested by Jaharul Islam applying the herbal method which were later tested by the indigenous and foreign experts including the DPHE and NGOs applying the modern kit method ... The young inventor told that after applying the herbal in the water, no change would be visible if it is not arsenic contaminated. On the other hand, arsenic contaminated water would become coloured like light-rosy, rosy- brown, deep brown, violet and chocolate as per rate of arsenic contamination.... His latest invention is the arsenic removal plant using the ultra violet ray of solar power and with the pipe. He claimed that Taka 8 thousand is good enough to set up a home based arsenic removal plant. 

STAR filter provides arsenic free water to villagers - Residents of Golbahar village in Chandpur take to new technology - Daily Star (Bangladesh) 21 Apr 2001.  Experts yesterday inspected the Stevens Technology for Arsenic Remove (STAR) filter project, a simple, cheap and user-friendly method to remove arsenic from tube well water ... The technique has been approved by the Technical Advisory Group, which is under the National Steering Committee on Arsenic. ... Earth Identity Project (EIP), a non-government organisation (NGO) introduced the technology in the village with technical assistance from Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) of New Jersey, USA....During [the] process two milligrams of iron powder with other chemicals are mixed with about 20 litres of arsenic contaminated water in a bucket.  The iron powder dissolves and absorbs the arsenic molecules with in two minutes. The water is then filtered through a highly absorptive common sand filling one third of another bucket with a hole at the bottom. The arsenic-free water passes to the container through a tube, connected with the hole. The arsenic containing particles remain in the bucket as those cannot pass through the sand. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. The initial cost of the filter is around Tk 2000, which includes the cost of buckets, buckets, tube and the iron mixture. The yearly cost of for filtering arsenic contaminated water is only Tk. 140 for a family of five.... 

Rapid assessment programme begins next week - Pipeline water in 100 municipalities to be tested - Daily Star (Bangladesh) 13 Apr 2001

Implementation of a 4.9 million dollar 'Rapid Assessment Programme' starts next week to test pipeline water in 100 municipalities in the country to detect presence of arsenic. The Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) will implement the programme within this year in cooperation with the Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP). The programme has been undertaken on an a emergency basis following a Daily Star report on April 5 that high level arsenic-contaminated water was being supplied in Chapainawabganj municipality since long. Presence of high level (0.2 mg/L) arsenic was detected in pipeline water in the municipality in 1998 but the authorities concerned kept it a secret, the report had said.

Criminal Silence For 3 Years! Detected In '98, Two Lakh People In C'nawabganj Are Still Drinking Arsenic Water - The Daily Star  (Bangladesh), 5 April 2001

Over 10,000 Are Victims Of Arsenic Poisoning - UNB  (Bangladesh), 3 Apr 2001

Arsenic contamination kills 10 so far, JS told - Daily Star (Bangladesh), 3 Apr 2001

Arsenic menace takes serious turn in 16 dists - The Independent  (Bangladesh), 29 Mar 2001

Arsenic hits 24m in Bangladesh: World Bank - BSS  (Bangladesh), 25 Mar 2001

EPA To Propose Withdrawal Of Arsenic In Drinking Water Standard; Seeks Independent Reviews - Washington Post 22 Mar 2001. "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman announced today that EPA will propose to withdraw the pending arsenic standard for drinking water that was issued on January 22. The rule would have reduced the acceptable level of arsenic in water from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb. EPA will seek independent reviews of both the science behind the standard and of the estimates of the costs to communities of implementing the rule. A final decision on withdrawal is expected after the public has an opportunity to comment."

Providing clean water: lessons from Bangladesh - Large parts of the world face an unwelcome choice between arsenic and micro-organisms - Editorial, British Medical Journal, 17 March 2001 (2001;322:626-627). "The people of Bangladesh are being slowly poisoned. Although the world has known this since 1998, the full implications are only just being realised. Up to 57 million of Bangladesh's 130 million inhabitants are drinking water that contains harmful concentrations of arsenic.  The tragedy is twofold: it was a well intentioned public health measure that caused the problem in the first place, and there are no easy solutions.  Discussion at a meeting in January between the Department for International Development, the British Geological Survey, and non-governmental organizations emphasised the difficulties of reaching a workable long term solution...."

Water of 62 districts polluted with arsenic, says Minister - UNB (Bangladesh), 16 Mar 01

Las aguas del infierno inundan el delta del Ganges (The waters of hell inundate the Ganges delta) - English translation online.  Planeta Humano magazine, Spain, March 2001. Text by Chelo Alvarez with photography by Roger Hutchings.  This article was short-listed for the Reuters/The World Conservation Union 2002 prize.

Heavy Metal: Arsenic Is An Endocrine Disruptor, Environmental News Network 2001. "Researchers at Dartmouth College have discovered that arsenic may trigger endocrine disruption. The findings, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, may offer important information on how arsenic causes a variety of the diseases to which it has been linked. 'This is unlikely to be the only mechanism underlying diseases associated with low-level arsenic exposure, but we expect it will be an important contributor,' said Joshua Hamilton, lead author of the study.

Arsenic And Endocrines - New Study Suggests Disruption, EHPNet 2001.  "... The current study [in EHP 109:245-251] follows up on previous research that found that arsenic affects expression of the well-characterized phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene in rat liver cancer cells, reducing its responsiveness to hormone signals."

UK-Based Body To Move Court For Justice To Arsenic Victims - The Independent  (Bangladesh), 23 Feb 2001. "The Bangladesh International Action Network (BIAN), an England-based non-political organisation set up recently will seek justice from both domestic and international courts for the people of Bangladesh dying from arsenic poisoning."

Arsenic Triggers Flood Of Free Radicals - Reuters Health, 23 Feb 2001. "Arsenic's cancer-causing properties may stem from the production of DNA-damaging particles called free radicals, researchers report. The finding supports the use of antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, which mop up free radicals, in cancer prevention. 'Having a better understanding of how arsenic causes gene mutations and cancers provides a means to design interventions both in the treatment as well as in the prevention (of cancer),' Dr. Tom Hei from Columbia University in New York told Reuters Health. Hei and associates studied the effects of arsenic on cells grown in the laboratory. They report their results in the February 13th issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Free Radicals Mediate Arsenic's Harmful Effects - Columbia News 15 Feb 2001.  "'This piece of research provides the first clear-cut evidence that an environmental carcinogen acts predominantly through a free-radical pathway,' says Hei ... professor of radiation oncology and public health at the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons.... The study, which also involved P&S dermatology researchers and researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Colorado State University, showed that cells cultured in the laboratory sharply increased their free radical production within five minutes of being exposed to an arsenic compound. The compound, sodium arsenite -- the main toxic form of arsenic in the environment -- also boosted the rate of mutations among the cells. Mutations are a key step in cancer development. The mutation rate shot up still higher when researchers added a chemical that reduced the cells' production of natural antioxidants. This was consistent with previous research suggesting that antioxidants can protect cells from arsenic-induced genetic damage."  See also the Liu et al. 2001 paper itself.

Quest For Finding Causes Of Arsenic Contamination - Daily Star  (Bangladesh), 3 Feb 2001. "Experts on a five-year research programme, financed by the Columbia University of the United States and formally launched last month, are confident of identifying the cause of arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh."

Time To Save A Dying Nation By Sylvia Mortoza - 11 Jan 01

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #14, Dec 2000.

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #13, Sep 2000.

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #12, Jun 2000.

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #11, Mar 2000.

Abstract, "Associations Between Drinking Water and Urinary Arsenic Levels and Skin Lesions in Bangladesh," 2000.  Habibul Ahsan, MD, MmedSc, Mary Perrin, MPH, Atiqur Rahman, MBBS, Faruque Parvez, MPH, Martin Stute, PhD, Yan Zheng, PhD, Abul Hasnat Milton, MBBS, MSc, Paul Brandt-Rauf, ScD, MD, DrPH, Alexander van Geen, PhD, and Joseph Graziano. J. Occupational Environ. Med. 42:12 (December 2000), pp 1195-1201. 

Abstract, "Arsenic in drinking water and the prevalence of respiratory effects in West Bengal, India," 2000. .  Mazumder D.N.G.; Haque R.; Ghosh N.; De B.K.; Santra A.; Chakraborti D.; Smith A.H, 2000. Intl. J. Epidemiology, 29(6), pp. 1047-1052. 

Contamination of drinking-water by arsenic in Bangladesh: a public health emergency, 2000.  Allan H. Smith, Elena O. Lingas, & Mahfuzar Rahman. Bull. World Health Org, 78(9), 1093-1103. 

"The Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project: Addressing a Massive Public Health Crisis" World Bank report

"Arsenic Mitigation in West Bengal and Bangladesh - Helping households respond to a water quality crisis - developing private sector supply chains to deliver rural water supply technology," Water and Sanitation Program, Dec 2000. About this report Rick Johnston writes, "The World Bank recently sponsored a report on supply chain issues in arsenic mitigation, by a consultant named Andy Robinson. . . . It examines arsenic field test kits and removal systems in West Bengal and Bangladesh, and focuses on how the private sector has gotten involved (or more often has not). "

"Characterization of Arsenic Bearing Sediments In Gangetic Delta of West Bengal - India." Draft version of a paper by Chakraboti et al. to be published in the conference proceedings, "Arsenic Exposure and Health Effects" of the 2001 San Diego conference.

WaterAid Arsenic 2000 Report, An Overview of the Arsenic Issue in BangladeshThis report includes an extensive section on "who is doing what" on the Bangladesh arsenic problem. A number of WaterAid's other reports related to the Bangladesh arsenic crisis are now online as well.

World Bank MD given a wrong impression about BAMWSP project - Filtered facts about arsenic filters, [no longer online] The Daily Star (Bangladesh), 1 Feb 2001.

"Arsenic found in Alipore (Calcutta) water supplies," The Statesman (New Delhi India), 5 Dec 2000.

"The West Bengal pilot project:  responding to community demands for safe drinking water in an arsenic affected area."  Water and Sanitation Project, Aug 2000.

Arsenic Sections, Draft Development Strategy, National Water Management Plan, Water Resources Planning Organization, Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. Bangladesh.  National Water Management Plan - Draft Development Strategy.  Halcrow-Mott MacDonald.  Vols. 1-11.  August.  Dhaka.  [Whole report (apparently) now available online at WARPO website.]

Arsenic in groundwater: testing pollution mechanisms for sedimentary aquifers in Bangladesh. McArthur, J.M., Ravenscroft P., Safiullah S. and Thirlwall M.F.. Water Resources Research, in press.

Arsenic in groundwater of sedimentary aquifers. Bhattacharya P. and Welch, A.H. (Eds.) 2000. Abstracts, Pre-Congress Workshop, 31st International Geological Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 88p.

Arsenic toxicity of groundwater in parts of Bengal basin in India and Bangladesh: the role of Quaternary stratigraphy and Holocene sea-level fluctuation (abstract), 2000.  S.K.Acharyya, S.Lahiri, B.C.Raymahashay, A. Bhowmik Environmental Geology, v.39(10), pp. 1127-1137. 

Mechanism of arsenic release to groundwater, Bangladesh and West Bengal . Ross Nickson, John McArthur, William Burgess, Kazi Matin Ahmed, Peter Ravenscroft, Mizanur Rahman, 2000.  Applied Geochemistry, 15( 4) 403-413.

Bangladesh Arsenic Crisis: Are Deep Tubewells Safe? Source Weekly No. 36-39, 17 November 2000.

Hooghly To Quench Arsenic Zone Thirst, Telegraph India 12 May 2000.  On plans to "supply drinking water from the Hooghly to the arsenic-affected areas on the southern fringes of Calcutta and a large part of South 24-Parganas." 

Arsenic-removing filter found successful [removed from online archive].  The Independent (Bangladesh), Internet Edition 14 Aug 99. "The field level test of a low cost and handy arsenic removing disposable filter, developed recently to supply contamination free safe drinking water, was found successful here on August 12, reports BSS. The test of the "Arsen: X Filter" was done with the water of a hand tube well at a village in sadar thana, which contains more than 1 and less than 0.5 milligram arsenic in per liter water, and after the test it was found 0.0 milligram or undetectable in the water.... Chief of "Bangladesh Water for All" Tanzim Ahmad, son of Bangladesh's first Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad, earlier placed this sophisticated but very simple technology, developed by a US base[d] company, before the LGRD Ministry for removing arsenic from drinking water of thousands of tube-wells across the country."

Half of Bangladesh population at risk of arsenic poisoning. By Ganapati Mudur. News, British Medical Journal 2000;320:822 (25 March). 

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #10, Dec 1999.

Disaster Forum Fact Sheet #9, Sep 1999.

Poisoned villagers to sue Unicef - up to 70m Bangladeshis at risk from high levels of arsenic in wells, many of them sunk by UN body, Guardian UK 22 Jul 1999.  By Arshad Mahmud in Dhaka and Peter Capella in Geneva.  

Group may sue Unicef over arsenic well-water. S China Morning Post, Tues 20 July 1999, by Arshad Mahmud in Dhaka [article has been dropped from online archive].  "A newly formed organisation is threatening to sue Unicef for compensation on behalf of the millions of unsuspecting victims of arsenic poisoning who are slowly dying in Bangladesh. The Forum for Arsenic Patients has accused the UN body of aiding what experts say could be the biggest mass poisoning in human history..."

Surface water not always the answer to Bangladesh arsenic pollution problem [no longer online], Duke Univ. News 3 Jun 99.  "In a preliminary study of arsenic pollution in Bangladesh drinking water sources, Duke University hydrologists have found evidence that surface waters can also be contaminated with the substance. Thus, say the scientists, abandoning polluted wells in favor of ponds and surface reservoirs, as is advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Bangladeshi government, will not always solve the problem. "Our analyses found that surface waters as well as ground waters have arsenic in excess of WHO standards, especially in areas of significant irrigation," said associate professor Stuart Rojstaczer, who led the study. "This finding means that groups advocating surface water over ground water must be very cautious. They should not assume a priori that arsenic levels in the surface waters will be negligible."

Bangladesh offered low-cost arsenic solution. Environmental News Network 5 May 1999.  "Two researchers from the Center for Environmental Studies at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., have come up with a low-cost, easy-to-implement method of removing arsenic from water that could serve an immediate need in Bangladesh.  A system will cost less than $5 a year for a family and may be as little as $2 a year, said Dr. Xiaoguang Meng and Dr. George P. Korfiatis, who spent four years developing the process.  The process uses direct coprecipitation and iron-oxide based coagulants. It involves adding inexpensive and readily-available chemicals to well water, mixing it up and then straining the water through a sand filter.  In March, Meng field tested the system in Bangladesh at the invitation of Dr. Rash Ghosh, executive director of the International Symposia on Reducing the Impact of Toxic Chemicals in Asian and Developing Countries. In all but one case, the arsenic levels were reduced below what is considered acceptable for Bangladesh as well as the United States. The remaining test site could have easily been brought within acceptable levels with the addition of more chemicals according to Meng. "There's nothing mythical about it," said Korfiatis, adding that the process is quite standard in terms of water treatment but has an enhanced value -- the use of simple products that are readily available to the Bangladesh citizens including two-liter soda bottles.

Bangladesh: US Institute Develops Low-Cost Filter to Remove Arsenic. [no longer online] Source Weekly, 26 April 1999.

Bangladesh/India - international team to combat arsenic poisoning, No. 14-15, 19 April 1999 [no longer online], Source Water And Sanitation News Service.  Source is a joint endeavour of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre.

International Team to Combat Arsenic Poisoning. Environment News Service, 5 April 1999 [no longer online].  "Australian scientists have launched an international rescue bid to save millions of families in Bangladesh and India from chronic arsenic poisoning caused by their drinking water. . . . Dr. Naidu has just received the go-ahead from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to assemble a team of researchers to tackle the problem. The team will include CSIRO, Ballarat University, Kalyani University in India and Dhaka University in Bangladesh. . . ."

Bangladesh: extent of arsenic poisoning. Source Weekly, 5 April 1999. [no longer online]

Bangladesh: one pond in every village reserved for safe water, No. 4 April 1999, Source Water & Sanitation News Service.

Arsenic levels in drinking water too high, study finds. Environmental News Network 25 March 1999. "Drinking water in the United States may have arsenic levels that are high enough to pose a significant risk of cancer, the American Water Works Association said Tuesday.  A study conducted by a panel of scientists from the National Research Council and released Tuesday prompted AWWA to call on the EPA to revise current standards for arsenic levels in drinking water.  The report concluded that the allowable level of arsenic in drinking water is too high for public health protection and the standard should be lowered from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb.  The international standard for arsenic in tap water is 10 micrograms per liter, five times tougher than the U.S. requirement, which dates back to 1942 and has not been changed despite a 1974 directive from Congress to strengthen the standard.  AWWA says utility costs to lower arsenic levels could reach $1 billion according to a 1997 study."

Bangladesh: one pond with arsenic-free water in each village. Source Weekly 1 March 1999 [no longer online]

Drinking Deadly in Bangladesh, 7 Feb 99 Chicago Tribune, posted in the listserv archive of Bangladesh Environment News.

Bangladesh: arsenic crisis update. Source Weekly, 18 Jan 1999. [no longer online]

Millions in Bangladesh face slow poisoning from arsenic-contaminated water.  2 Dec 1998, by Liz Mantell.  World Socialist Web Site.  "The international media rarely touches on the misery and suffering endured by the hundreds of millions of people in the so-called Third World who lack access to the basic necessities of life--clean water, adequate food, clothing and housing. Only when malnutrition turns to famine and diseases become epidemics do reports begin to appear, usually written in sensational but superficial terms. In Bangladesh, a huge social disaster is developing that has received virtually no news coverage. Millions of people in rural areas are being slowly but surely poisoned as they drink from water supplies contaminated with small but nevertheless potentially fatal quantities of arsenic."

Arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh and India (2). Source Weekly, 23 Nov 1998. [no longer online]

Arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh and India. Source Weekly, 16 Nov 1998. [no longer online]

Safe to drinkSafe to drink, 28 Mar 98, New Scientist [access requires registration with - 7 day free trial available].  "A simple filter based on sand and iron filings could prevent millions of people being poisoned by the arsenic in their drinking water. Nikolaos Nikolaidis, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut, has created a filter that converts almost all the arsenic in water into insoluble compounds...."

Bangladesh arsenic an invitation to catastropheEnvironmental News Network 23 Mar 1998 by Arnab Neil Sengupta.  "As Bangladesh faces the world's worst arsenic-poisoning crisis, international agencies are facing flak for helping sink the bulk of the 3 million tubewells which now provide 95 percent of the country's drinking water. What they did not know when they launched their tubewell-installation programs in the early '70s was that deep in the alluvial sediments of the Ganges delta lurked arsenic bound up in mineral layers."

Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater in Bangladesh, by Md. Harun-ur-Rashid, Md. Abdul Karim Mridha. In: Proceedings of the 24th WEDC conference on "Sanitation and Water for All", Islamabad Pakistan 1998. 

Filter cleans arsenic-tainted waterEnvironmental News Network story now at CNN website.  18 Mar 98.  "A filter developed by University of Connecticut engineers may help end a worldwide problem of arsenic-contaminated groundwater.  Nik P. Nikolaidis, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and colleagues in the university's Critical Technologies Program have developed a filter that removes arsenic from water."

Clean drinking water turns poisonous, 26 Feb 98, InterPress Service (IPS)

Arsenic in the water (18 Feb 98) and On the poison trail (25 Feb 98), two part series in The Guardian by Fred Pearce. This fairly scathing pair of articles evidently caused a bit of an uproar in the UK. [These have been dropped from the Guardian online archive.]

Arsenic poisoning affects millions in Bangladesh,  23 Feb 1998, Source Weekly. [no longer online]

Contaminated water affects millions in Bangladesh, 9 Feb 98, BBC. This was the lead article for the BBC website World Section on the opening day of the Dhaka conference.

Arsenic pollution: immediate tasks & future vision [no longer online], 4 Feb 98, The Daily Star

Arsenic in drinking water and resulting arsenic toxicity in India and Bangladesh - recommendations for action. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi. WHO pamphlet SEA/EH/505].

Arsenic Poisoning Becomes National Problem, 17 Nov 97, InterPress Service (IPS)

Arsenic poisoning threatens 40 million in Bangladesh, 27 Sep 97, International Federation of Environmental Journalists [no longer online]

Arsenic threatens 40 million in Bangladesh [no longer available online], 25 Sep 97, Environmental News Network (ENN) Newswire

Bangladesh: growing concern over arsenic 21 Aug 97 (3d article down), WorldVision newsbrief by Nikesh Chandra Das, WV Bangladesh Communications Officer.

Arsenic polluted wells [no longer online], very short article on arsenic and tubewells in Bangladesh, 1 Aug 97, Chemical Online.

Arsenic-poisoned wells, May 97, Popular Mechanics (of all places).

Arsenic pollution high in Bengal wells.  WHO, 4 Sep 96, The Hindu.  [Not online as of 16 Oct 2001.]

Arsenic - basic information, contamination, toxicity, measurement

ArsenicNational Library of Medicine.

Arsenic and Arsenic Compounds - Environmental Health Criteria 224International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), 2001.  World Health Organization (WHO) publication in the Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) Series.

Arsenic Chemical Backgrounder, Environmental Health Center, Division of the National Safety Council (USA).

Arsenic concentrations in well water and risk of bladder and kidney cancer in Finland (abstract)Kurttio, Pivi, Eero Pukkala, Hanna Kahelin, Anssi Auvinen, and Juha Pekkanen.  Environmental Health Perspectives 107(9), Sep 99.

Arsenic in Drinking Water. WELL Fact Sheet, February 1999. 

Arsenic in Drinking Water.  WHO Fact Sheet No. 210, May 2001.

Arsenic in Groundwater Environmental Literacy Council.  15 May 2002.

Arsenic Information Page. "Joint initiative of the CRCWMPC and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)."

Arsenic Section of the excellent Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality - Supporting Documentation [as a 54kb Adobe .pdf file, last update August 1992]. The supporting documents "... represent the technical or scientific supporting documentation used by the [Canadian] Federal-Provincial Subcommittee on Drinking Water in developing and approving guidelines for contaminants found in drinking water. The documents are criteria summaries prepared by the staff of the Environmental Health Directorate of Health Canada, or their consultants, following the critical evaluation of available information on exposure, health effects, analytical methodology and treatment technology for each contaminant. These reviews are not exhaustive, but present a brief summary of background data and information considered to be critical for the derivation of the guidelines."

Arsenic Section (draft as of Feb 2003) of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.  Third edition, 2003.  Rather unimpressive.  Maybe the comments will improve it?

Case Studies in Environmental Medicine: Arsenic Toxicity.  U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Oct 2000.  "The goal of the CSEM is to increase the primary care provider's knowledge of hazardous substances in the environment and to aid in the evaluation of potentially exposed patients.

"After completion of this educational activity, the reader should be able to discuss the major exposure route for arsenic, describe two potential environmental and occupational sources of arsenic exposure, give two reasons why arsenic is a health hazard, describe three factors contributing to arsenic toxicity, identify evaluation and treatment protocols for persons exposed to arsenic, and list two sources of information on arsenic. Continuing education credit is available free of charge!"

Metabolism of inorganic arsenic in children with chronic high arsenic exposure in northern Argentina, Gabriela Concha, Barbro Nermell, and Marie Vahter, 1998, Environmental Health Perspectives 106(6), June.  

Measurement of arsenic concentrations - at the website of the Arsenic Project at the Harvard Schools

The Poison Sleuths: Arsenic - The King Of PoisonsScience Reporter, India, Feb 1997. By Dr. Anil Aggrawal, professor of forensic medicine. Overview of the history of the use and detection of arsenic as a homicidal poison.

Public Health Statement - Arsenic, 1989. U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Toxicological profile for arsenicU.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).  Sep 2000.

WHO Supercourse on Health, Environment, and Sustainable Development  "The Supercourse is an Internet-based distance learning for students who are interested in the important links of Health and Environment in the Sustainable Development context. It can be utilized for training your students. You can contribute to the Supercourse as a reviewer, lecture developer, or translator as well."

USEPA resources

Due to the push to upgrade the US drinking water standard for arsenic, there is a lot of arsenic info coming out of and related to USEPA.  See the Arsenic in Drinking Water webpage.

Arsenic contamination in other locations (besides Bengal)

Alphabetical by country


Metabolism of inorganic arsenic in children with chronic high arsenic exposure in northern Argentina, Gabriela Concha, Barbro Nermell, and Marie Vahter, 1998, Environmental Health Perspectives 106(6), June.  


Arsenic concentrations in well water and risk of bladder and kidney cancer in Finland (abstract)Kurttio, Pivi, Eero Pukkala, Hanna Kahelin, Anssi Auvinen, and Juha Pekkanen.  Environmental Health Perspectives 107(9), Sep 99.


Heavy metals in foods causes concern,
Times of India Mon 15 Nov 99.  [No longer online.]

Arsenicosis and deteriorating groundwater quality - unfolding crisis in central-east Indian region [MP]: "This paper reports, for the first time, the appearance of arsenic and chemical extent of the deterioration in groundwater quality of the Rajnandgaon district of MP. Out of about 90 samples analysed so far in the lab, we have found 14 sites contaminated with arsenic. Total arsenic concentration obtained in the analyses range between 0.92 to 0.01 mg/L. The number of people at risk is about 10,000. The symptoms observed and the age distribution of patients is presented. The correlation study of the arsenic has shown neither a strong positive correlation with the iron concentration nor a strong negative correlation with pH. These results testify the urgent need to study the source profile and the geo-chemical reactions responsible for the occurrence of arsenic." Abstract of paper submitted 28 Dec 98 to Current Science, Bangalore India; authors Piyush K. Pandey, Ram Narayan Khare, Ramesh Sharma, Santosh Kumar Sar and Madhurima Pandey, Bhilai Institute of Technology, Durg, 491002, India).

Arsenic poisoning hits parts of Tripura. 13 Oct 97, Rediff On The Net (India on-line news channel).


Arsenic contaminated groundwater, Zampan Mexico. Research project, Bates College [article no longer online.].


Arsenic Contamination in NepalWebsite for MS Nepal ((Danish Association for International Cooperation in Nepal) arsenic contamination information.

U.N. Experts, NGO Warn Of Contamination In Nepalese WellsSource: UN Wire, 15 Jan 2003,  by way of Source Weekly No. 3-4, 27 January 2003.  "Nearly half of Nepal's 22.3 million people are at risk of contracting diseases caused by arsenic-contaminated drinking water, according to a four-year study by a nongovernmental organisation and experts from UNICEF and the World Health organisation (WHO). Tests on about 10% of the 200,000 shallow tubewells in the country's Terai region, where 47% of the population lives, indicate arsenic levels above WHO standards, said Prasant Chaudhary of the NGO, the Public Health Concern Center....

"Nepalese Health Department official Ram Sharan Duwadi said villagers in the region, 90% of whom get their water from the wells, often complain of dizziness and hearing problems. He added that because such incidents are comparatively recent, "most people are ignorant about the matter."

"The measurements in the affected areas of Nepal have revealed concentrations almost double the highest measured in Bangladesh. A National Arsenic Steering Committee (NASC) was formed in the beginning of year 2001, and shortly after the Non Government Organisations' Informal Group for Arsenic Mitigation (NIGAM) was formed."

The Arsenic Contamination of the Drinking Water in Nepal.  Report by Kim Rud Adamsen and Anil Pokhrel.  Draft July 2002.

Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater of NepalPaper by Nirmal Tandukar, 2001 (776kb self extracting zipped MS-Word file).


Arsenic in ground water of the United States - at the USGS website.

National arsenic occurrence map and arsenic data for water supply systems in 25 states, at Natural Resources Defense Fund website.

Arsenic page of the USEPA Drinking Water Standards Program. "The information contained at this site and [the external sites to which it links] provide a history of EPA's rulemaking efforts related to arsenic and the various technical and factual information associated with those efforts.  EPA is reviewing the rule, and this site will be updated to provide more information about this review as it becomes available."

[US] arsenic evaluation process set - "Regulatory Matters" article, 19 April 2001

NRDC to sue over arsenic, April(?) 2001. "The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced it will sue to challenge the Bush administration's suspension of the new arsenic-in-tap-water standard and right-to-know requirements. The NRDC said that the Bush administration's suspension of the arsenic protections is scientifically unwarranted, illegal and flies in the face of what the administration concedes is 'overwhelming' public opposition expressed by thousands of comments. 'The Bush administration's decision ... to suspend the new arsenic-in-tap-water rule in the face of what it calls "overwhelming" public opposition is stunningly arrogant and wrongheaded,' said Erik D. Olson, an NRDC senior attorney."

US EPA Calls For Urgent Review, April 2001. Details of US EPA's call for urgent review of their arsenic standard and commentary from the Wall Street Journal.

California USA - City of Los Angeles 1996. Low level (10 µg/L) arsenic contamination of city water supply, from geothermal source surface water. [No longer online.]

Michigan USA:

Montana USA: Madison and Upper Missouri River Arsenic.  "One element Yellowstone Park's geothermal waters pick up is arsenic, and that accounts for the Madison River's high arsenic concentration [which is[ highest near the park.  [G]round water's arsenic is highest at Three Forks where the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers join the Madison to form the Missouri. Ground water arsenic near Three Forks varies from [50 parts per billion] to more than three times [that]."

Oregon USA: 

  • Ground water tests out with high arsenic levels [no longer online]. The Oregonian, 17 Aug 1999.
  • Summary of Willamette Basin Ground-Water Study.  1992 Willamette Basin Report, Oregon Water Res. Dept.  "Identifying areas prone to natural ground-water quality problems. High salinity and high arsenic concentrations are the two major natural water-quality problems in parts of the Willamette Basin.

Tennessee - 1995. Fly ash contamination of surface water.

Utah USA:  Do Utahns Drink Too Much Arsenic? [no longer online] Salt Lake Tribune, 30 July 1999.  "Millard County residents who drank water containing elevated levels of arsenic were more than twice as likely to die from one type of heart disease as other Utahns, a new study has shown.  The research, done for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, also showed a moderate increase in the rate of prostate cancer among men exposed to this naturally occurring element.   However, the study also found that residents of the western Utah county had lower rates of several other diseases, prompting at least one researcher to ask whether there might be an overall benefit to having a little arsenic in the diet."

Washington USA:  

  • Dangerous level of arsenic in water supply,  Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Aug 1997. "A recent analysis of six public drinking water supplies in western Washington detected arsenic levels substantially exceeding the applicable human health water quality standard. The samples exceeded the 0.018 ppb standard by as little as a factor of 2 to as much as 900 times the standard. Future analysis of additional samples will extend this range. None of the samples analyzed met the human health standard."
  •  USD60 million cleanup of 450 acre arsenic contaminated old smelter site in Everett (Seattle Times 27 Jan 99).


Arsenic in drinking water in Vietnam. AusAID, March 2002 (draft).  Abstract: The occurrence of arsenic in drinking water sourced from groundwater is emerging as a problem in Vietnam, and other Mekong countries. In Bangladesh and West Bengal, arsenic has typically been found in tubewells at considerable depths. In Vietnam and other Mekong countries the arsenic occurs in both deep and shallow groundwater. The paper canvasses options for addressing the problem in Vietnam.

Arsenic in other media (besides water)

Role of arsine from bedding (sheepskins etc) in sudden infant death syndrome.

Guidance document for arsenic in shellfish. US Food & Drug Admin. Jan 93.

Miscellaneous topics

"Arsenic and old brakes," article in The Economist about the discover of the Chinese brake fern's ability to accumulate large amounts of arsenic.  This article is based on research findings published in a Nature article.

Arsenic Keratosis.  Article at covering clinical diagnosis, workup, treatment, etc of arsenic keratosis. 

"Magnesium catastrophe" - Mg deficiency, heart attack, and drinking water. Paul Mason 1997.

Arsenic and Ayurved. Treleaven J, Meller S, Farmer P, Birchall D, Goldman J, Piller G. Leukemia and Lymphoma 10:343-5, 1993. Case reports. [Full text of webpage is the following abstract:] "Results: This paper reports on a visit to India to review medical records on patients with ALL, AML and chronic myeloid leukemia. The arsenic containing herbal medicine offered was effective in controlling blood counts and spleen size in chronic myeloid leukemia. No reference on the ages of this subset though. They did report on a case of a child with an unexpected recovery after the second relapse by using Ayurveda." 


Of Arsenic Afflicted Bangladeshis by photographer David Portnoy.

Of keratosis sufferer Jamil, aged 18 months

At the Arsenic Project at the Harvard Schools website