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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

Local arsenic testkit developed

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.

"It is simple, easy to use and has no hazard and it has been developed completely using local technology," claimed Dr Momenul Haq, managing director of GPL.

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, is10 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."

"As part of our research and accuracy we have conducted 2,500 sample tests which were more or less accurate and to verify our results we had sent samples to Atomic Energy Commission for validation. The results were satisfactory," said Chowdhury.

"The kit provides an easy method of screening water for arsenic right at home or in the field. You can get instant results. By identifying arsenic in water, you can avoid the risks of lung and skin cancer," said Dr Haq.

The company will introduce the kit, which is comparable to any portable arsenic kit in the world, in the market on commercial basis in about three months' time, the manufacturers claimed.

It can be used nearly anywhere - in natural waters, groundwater, and drinking water. Using prepared reagents and indicator test strips, the new arsenic test kit allows to screen water for arsenic concentration without the delay of sending samples to laboratory.

The test takes just 20 minutes, using a pretreated cotton wool to overcome any sulfide interference. Exposure to chemical reaction is minimised.

Operators can visually compare the kit's reacted test strip against various colour- standard steps from 10 to 3000 ppb.

"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. (The Daily Star)


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