Arsenic Research & Researchers

...involved in the Bengal arsenic crisis or related work.  If your organization and/or project should be added here, please email your info to acic@bicn.comSee also Organizations & Projects.

Comment as of Dec 2000: We hope to replace this webpage and the organizations/projects page, with pages that are dynamically generated from a database directory of  individual researchers, organizations, research projects, implementation projects, donors, and other arsenic crisis stakeholders.

American Water Works Association Research Foundation [AWWARF] Projects Related to Arsenic Issues"More than 20 projects valued at $7.4 million have been funded through the Arsenic Research Partnership, a collaboration between the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Association of California Water Agencies, and the AWWA Research Foundation. This research addresses techniques to improve the detection and removal of arsenic from drinking waters, understand the health impacts of arsenic, and determine the cost implications of a lower arsenic regulation for water utilities."  AWWARF projects related to arsenic issues include:

  • Analytical Chemistry of Arsenic in Drinking Water, Montgomery Watson, published 1998.
  • Arsenic Contribution from Dietary Sources, Research Triangle Institute, to be completed 2001.
  • Arsenic Effect On Gene Expression - A, University of Alberta, to be completed 2002.
  • Arsenic Effect On Gene Expression - B, University of Michigan, to be completed in 2002.
  • Arsenic Removal by Enhanced Coagulation and Membrane Processes, University of California at Los Angeles, published 1996.
  • Arsenic Treatability Options and Residuals Evaluation, University of Colorado and University of Washington, to be completed 1999.

Arsenic Research Partnership [no longer online].  ARP is "a collaboration of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation [AWWARF], the Association of California Water Agencies, and the US Environmental Protection Agency."  ARP 2000 projects:

  1. Point of Use/Point of Entry Implementation Feasibility Study for Arsenic Treatment [#2730] Will determine the feasibility of implementing or centrally-managing a point-of-use (POU) or point-of-entry (POE) device option for removing arsenic that meets the requirements of the 1996 SDWA Amendments and the proposed revised arsenic maximum contaminant level (MCL) for a small community system. $250,000.
  2. Impact of Water Quality Parameters on Adsorbent Treatment Technologies for Arsenic Removal [#2731] Will determine the impairing and synergistic effects of source water quality parameters on the treatment and regeneration efficiency of newer adsorption technologies applicable for arsenic removal. $250,000.
  3. Validation of Arsenic Analytical Method [#2732] Will obtain validation data on arsenic speciation method using atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS) that would enable the method to be considered and potentially incorporated into the next edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. $60,000.
  4. New Technologies for Arsenite Oxidation [#2734] Will investigate emerging methods to oxidize As(III) to As(V) for arsenic removal such as solid media or UV/photo-oxidation. Will also determine whether the addition of chemicals such as iron or sulfur enhances these processes. $200,000.
  5. Process Performance Indicators for Arsenic Removal [#2735 & #2736] Will develop or identify process performance indicators for arsenic removal. Will consider field measurements that directly measure arsenic or water quality parameters that indirectly measure arsenic removal. $135,000.
  6. U.S.-Based Arsenic Mortality Study [#2737] Will determine the correlation of arsenic in drinking water with human mortality in at least three U.S. states. $400,000.
  7. Correlation of Arsenic Levels in Drinking Water with Cancer Incidence [#2738] Will compare and correlate arsenic levels in drinking water with cancer incidence in populations, using cancer registries in the United States. Will develop data to help refine the dose-response relationship between arsenic exposure from drinking water and cancer of the skin, bladder, and lung, and other cancers. $300,000.
  8. Feasibility of Arsenic-Induced Dermatological Changes Study [#2739] Will determine the feasibility of a study to determine if populations exposed to arsenic in drinking water in the United States experience dermatological changes. $100,000.
  9. Workshop on Arsenic Health Effects Research Status and Needs [#2740] Will summarize the status of arsenic health effects research and determine the research needed to reduce the uncertainties in risk assessments of arsenic in drinking water. $51,900.
  10. A project to develop recommendations for designing and implementing a strategy using an integrated approach for utility compliance with multiple groundwater rules was added directly to ongoing AwwaRF project #2698 "Water Resource Management Strategies for Compliance with Multiple Regulatory Requirements". This project add-on was funded at a level of $40,000.

ARP 1999 projects:

  1. Disposal of Waste Resulting from Arsenic Removal Processes (RFP2659) - $230,000
  2. Issues and Costs Associated With Treatment Process Integration for Arsenic Removal (RFP 2660) - $225,000
  3. Demonstration of Emerging Technologies for Arsenic Removal (RFP 2661) - $500,000
  4. Preservation of Arsenic Species (RFP 2662) - $75,000
  5. Field Separation Method for Arsenic Inorganic Species (RFP 2663) - $100,000
  6. Influence of Source Water Quality on Arsenic Treatment Decisions (RFP 2664) - $150,000
  7. Design and Maintenance for Arsenic Removal Technologies (RFP 2665) - $250,000.

Other AwwaRF research programs

Arsenic in Tubewell Water and Health Consequences.  This ICDDR,B-led project beginning 1 Jun 2001 will focus on epidemiological research and mitigation in ICDDR,B's Matlab research area in Chandpur district.  Other project partners include Linkoping University and Karolinska Institute in Sweden and BRAC in Bangladesh.  

Summary of Projects on Arsenic at Harvard and MIT: Harvard University School of Public Health, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, John F. Kennedy School of Governement, Harvard Institute for International Development, and Parsons Laboratory at MITSee also the Harvard Public Health Review article [undated] about the Arsenic Project at the Harvard Schools.

CalTech researcher Janet G. Hering. Environmental chemistry of trace metals in natural and engineered aquatic systems, kinetics of complexation, sorption, and dissolution reactions. Co-author with Elimelech of the book  Arsenic Removal by Enhanced Coagulation & Membrane Processes 1996.

Columbia UniversityArsenic related resources on the CU server:

EngConsult Ltd., Toronto Canada (formerly or affiliated with Dainichi, Tokyo Japan).   This site includes links to "news articles, technical papers, and [Dainichi's] research outputs" related to the arsenic crisis. 

Geohazard Research Group (GRG) at the Department of Geology, Dhaka University "Actively engaged in the research for determining the source, release and mobilizing character of arsenic in groundwater in this vast deltaic region and to suggest mitigational approach." Email contact Dr. Aftab Alam Khan.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute"Arsenic and old waste: Predoctoral fellow finds an organism with a taste for poison,"  May 1995.  "Predoctoral fellow Dianne Ahmann, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discovered an arsenic-eating microbe in the waters of the Aberjona Watershed near Boston."

India-Germany Arsenic Research Collaboration at IIT Bombay - Univ Karlsruhe.  The Department of Earth Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay and the Institute of Minerology and Geochemistry, University of Karlsruhe, Germany under DAAD-IITB exchange programme, is conducting research related to arsenic pollution in groundwater of West Bengal. 

Update, mid 2002:  "At present we are concentrating on the uptake of arsenic by rice and wheat in West Bengal. This is a part of research project being carried out by Ms Paramita Agrawala under the supervision of Prof. Chandrasekharam from IIT-B and Prof Stueben and Dr Berner, Germany. The project will be completed by the end of March 2003. - Prof.D.Chandrasekharam, Senior Associate, International Ctr.Theoretcal Phy,Italy and Head, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay 400076,India. Email dchandra@geos.iitb.ac.in  or dchandra50@yahoo.co.uk "

Investigators include, from the Indian side, Prof. D Chandrasekharam and M.Tech. graduate student Ms. Julie Karmar, and from the German side, Prof. Doris Stueben, Head, Department of Petrography and Geochemistry, University of Karlsruhe, and Dr Zsolt Berner, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Petrography and Geochemistry, University of Karlsruhe. 

Ms. Kurmar's thesis work, to be completed in Feb 2002, covered parts of Murshidabad district in 1998. Her results are being presented at the forthcoming Water-Rock Conference 10 in Italy during May 2001.

This work continues with watersheds in parts of Bihar and West Bengal selected for this year.  For more info, contact Prof.D.Chandrasekharam, Head, Dept. Earth Sciences, TWAS Visiting Professor, Sana'a Univ.,Yemen Republic, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay 400076,India, Ph: 91-22-572 6568; 91-22-5768263; 91-22-5767263, Fax: 91-22-5723480; 91-22-5767253, email dchandra@geos.iitb.ernet.in.

London Arsenic Group"The London Arsenic Group brings together expertise from the fields of sedimentary geochemistry, hydrochemistry, environmental mineralogy and analytical geochemistry.  We seek to understand the source, mobility, and fate, of arsenic in the environment. We exist to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to this issue and provide a focus for exchange of views."  Includes researchers & facilities from University College London and Birkbeck College of London."  Group members include Charlie Bristow, Lecturer in Sedimentology, University College London; Richard Howarth, Visiting Professor of Mathematical Geology, UCL; Karen Hudson-Edwards, Lecturer, Birkbeck College; John McArthur, Professor of Geochemistry, UCL; and Spiros Pergantis, Lecturer, Birkbeck College.

NYU Center of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: see the list of researchers with interests in environmental health aspects of arsenic.

Groundwater Arsenic Research Group (GARG)  Coordinator, Prosun Bhattacharya, Ph.D. (Research Scientist, Sediment geochemistry).  Other GARG arsenic researchers: Jon-Petter Gustafsson, Bo Olofsson, Jaana Aaltonen, Andre Sracek, Debashis Chatterjee, Kazi Matin Ahmed, Aftab Alam Khan. 

Steven Institute of Technology - search of their website for "Bangladesh" + "arsenic" finds various press releases etc., but as of 30 May 01 no home page for their work in Bangladesh.

School of Environment Studies, Jadavpur University. SOES is the leading organization in addressing the crisis in West Bengal. The JU website has general information about the university.  See Arsenic Report, School of Environmental Studies [Jadavpur University, Calcutta], July 2002.

Texas Tech Univ - Professor of Nutrition and Biochemistry Julian Spallholz, Ph.D:  "I believe that that arsenicosis might be alleviated by \dietary supplements of selenium as has been recently been reported to help arsenicosis in patients in Mongolia [see note 1] and that selenium accelerates the excretion of As [see note 2]. Our work to date shows that a dietary deficiency of normal selenium levels in rats enhances the arsenic toxicity from water. Soil samples obtained from Bangladesh to date show levels of selenium comparable to levels found in the Keshan disease areas of China. The question remaining to be answered by human data is, is arsenicosis in Bangladesh really a dietary problem, in particular a dietary selenium deficiency?"  Note 1. Prevention of Endemic Arsenism with Selenium, Current Science 81,1215, 2001.  2. Biliary Excretion of As/Se after IV Injection of Rabbits, Chem Res Toxicol 15, 1455, 2002.

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

University of California, Berkeley, Arsenic Health Effects Research Program, School of Public Health and Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. "Research activities began nearly ten years ago with a risk assessment for arsenic in drinking water. The realization that potential risks were high led to a program of arsenic research, including epidemiologic studies of various designs which are being undertaken among exposed populations in several countries."  The Arsenic Health Effects Research Program website can be downloaded in its entirety.  USEPA funded project of UC Berkeley, principal investigator Allan H. Smith:  A dose-response and susceptibility investigation of skin keratoses and hyperpigmentation due to ingestion of arsenic in drinking water.  , project period Sep 1997 - Sep 2000.  "The proposed study will be conducted in West Bengal, India where a large population is exposed to drinking water containing arsenic. This study will focus on effects at low doses and will be of immediate value for arsenic risk assessment.  The key objectives of the proposed research are to establish the dose-response relationship for skin keratoses and hyperpigmentation caused by ingestion of inorganic arsenic in drinking water, and to identify if susceptibility varies according to arsenic methylation efficiency and nutritional factors.  The study will build upon a unique cross-sectional epidemiological study previously conducted in the arsenic exposed region of West Bengal, India."

University of Turku, Finland, Arsenic Detection & Measurement Biosensor Project. "Bioluminescent sensors are developed by means of incorporating engineered luciferase genes from firefly, Photinus pyralis or bacteria Photorhabdus luminescens into various microbial strains. These light-emitting sensors are applied for 'environmental diagnostic' and/or analysis of food quality.  Several nonspecific microbial whole cell sensors which react to nearly any kind of toxic substances have been developed. A more novel approach is to construct an artificial operon in which a strictly regulated promoter is connected to a reporter gene. For instance for environmental applications the most interesting promoters can be found in bacteria which survive in extreme environments contaminated by for example, heavy metals or organic compounds. Luminescent sensor bacteria using this regulation element-reporter gene concept each highly specific for their target ion have been developed in our laboratory for the detection of mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic ions. Regulation units which respond to different antibiotics can be utilised in generating sensitive methods for food drug residue screening purposes, or for high throughput screening (HTS) projects in pharmaceutical industry as well."