References Dated 2000-2

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2002

Note: The entire 7 July 2002 issue of Toxicology Letters (Vol. 133 No. 1) is devoted to arsenic-related topics. Some (but not all) of the articles from this issue appear below. 

Arsenic accumulation and metabolism in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Abedin, M.J., Cresser, M.S., Meharg, A.A., Feldmann, J., and Cotter-Howells, J. Environmental Science and Technology (2002), 36:962-968. [Full text access for purchase & subscribersAbstract: The use of arsenic (As) contaminated groundwater for irrigation of crops has resulted in elevated concentrations of arsenic in agricultural soils in Bangladesh, West Bengal (India), and elsewhere. Paddy rice ( Oryza sativa L.) is the main agricultural crop grown in the arsenic-affected areas of Bangladesh. There is, therefore, concern regarding accumulation of arsenic in rice grown those soils. A greenhouse study was conducted to examine the effects of arsenic-contaminated irrigation water on the growth of rice and uptake and speciation of arsenic. Treatments of the greenhouse experiment consisted of two phosphate doses and seven different arsenate concentrations ranging from 0 to 8 mg of As L-1 applied regularly throughout the 170-day post-transplantation growing period until plants were ready for harvesting. Increasing the concentration of arsenate in irrigation water significantly decreased plant height, grain yield, the number of filled grains, grain weight, and root biomass, while the arsenic concentrations in root, straw, and rice husk increased significantly. Concentrations of arsenic in rice grain did not exceed the food hygiene concentration limit (1.0 mg of As kg-1 dry weight). The concentrations of arsenic in rice straw (up to 91.8 mg kg-1 for the highest As treatment) were of the same order of magnitude as root arsenic concentrations (up to 107.5 mg kg-1), suggesting that arsenic can be readily translocated to the shoot. While not covered by food hygiene regulations, rice straw is used as cattle feed in many countries including Bangladesh. The high arsenic concentrations may have the potential for adverse health effects on the cattle and an increase of arsenic exposure in humans via the plant-animal-human pathway. Arsenic concentrations in rice plant parts except husk were not affected by application of phosphate. As the concentration of arsenic in the rice grain was low, arsenic speciation was performed only on rice straw to predict the risk associated with feeding contaminated straw to the cattle. Speciation of arsenic in tissues (using HPLC-ICP-MS) revealed that the predominant species present in straw was arsenate followed by arsenite and dimethylarsinic acid (DMAA). As DMAA is only present at low concentrations, it is unlikely this will greatly alter the toxicity of arsenic present in rice.

Arsenic and other heavy metals in soils from an arsenic-affected area of West Bengal, India. Tarit Roychowdhury, Tadashi Uchino, Hiroshi Tokunaga, Masanori Ando. Chemosphere 49 (2002), 605-618.  Abstract: Domkal is one of the 19, out of 26 blocks in Murshidabad district where groundwater contains arsenic above 0.05 mg/l. Many millions of cubic meters of groundwater along with arsenic and other heavy metals are coming out from both the hand tubewells, used by the villagers for their daily needs and shallow big diameter tubewells, installed for agricultural irrigation and depositing on soil throughout the year. So there is a possibility of soil contamination which can moreover affect the food chain, cultivated in this area. A somewhat detailed study was carried out, in both micro and macrolevel, to get an idea about the magnitude of soil contamination in this area. The mean concentrations (mg/kg) of As (5.31), Fe (6740), Cu (18.3), Pb (10.4), Ni (18.8), Mn (342), Zn (44.3), Se (0.53), Mg (534), V (44.6), Cr (33.1), Cd (0.37), Sb (0.29) and Hg (0.54) in fallow land soils are within the normal range. The mean As (10.7), Fe (7860) and Mg (733) concentrations (mg/kg) are only in higher side whereas Hg (0.17 mg/kg) is in lower side in agricultural land soils, compared to the fallow land soils. Arsenic concentrations (11.5 and 28.0 mg/kg respectively) are high in those agricultural land soils where irrigated groundwater contains high arsenic (0.082 and 0.17 mg/l respectively). The total arsenic withdrawn and mean arsenic deposition per land by the 19 shallow tubewells per year are 43.9 kg (mean: 2.31 kg, range: 0.53-5.88 kg) and 8.04 kg ha-1 (range: 1.66-16.8 kg ha-1) respectively. For the macrolevel study, soil arsenic concentration decreases with increase of distance from the source and higher the water arsenic concentration, higher the soil arsenic at any distance. A proper watershed management is urgently required to save the contamination.

Arsenic calamity in the Indian subcontinent - What lessons have been learned? Dipankar Chakraborti a,*, Mohammad M. Rahman, Kunal Paul, Uttam K. Chowdhury, Mrinal K. Sengupta, Dilip Lodh, Chitta R. Chanda, Kshitish C. Saha, Subhash C. Mukherjee. Talanta 58 (2002) 3-22.  Abstract: Groundwater arsenic (As) contamination in West Bengal (WB, India) was first reported in December 1983, when 63 people from three villages of two districts were identified by health officials as suffering from As toxicity. As of October 2001, the authors from the School of Environmental Studies (SOES) have analyzed >105 000 water samples, >25 000 urine/hair/nail/skin-scale samples, screened approximately 86 000 people in WB. The results show that more than 6 million people from nine affected districts (total population approximately 42 million) of 18 total districts are drinking water containing >=50 μg l-1 As and >300 000 people may have visible arsenical skin lesions. 2 700 villages have so far been identified where groundwater contains arsenic above 50 μg l-1. The As content of the physiological samples indicates that many more may be sub-clinically affected. Children in As-affected villages may be in special danger. In 1995, we had found three villages in two districts of Bangladesh where groundwater contained >=50 μg l-1 As. The present situation is that in 2000 villages in 50 out of total 64 districts of Bangladesh, groundwater contains As above 50 μg l-1 and more than 25 million people are drinking water above >=50 μg l-1 As. After years of research in WB and Bangladesh, additional affected villages are being identified on virtually every new survey. The present research may still reflect only the tip of iceberg in identifying the extent of As contamination. Although the WB As problem became public almost 20 years ago, there are still few concrete plans, much less achievements, to solve the problem. Villagers are probably in worse condition than 20 years ago. Even now, many who are drinking As-contaminated water are not even aware of that fact and its consequences. 20 years ago when the WB government was first informed, it was a casual matter, without the realization of the magnitude this problem was to assume. At least up to 1994, one committee after another was formed but no solution was forthcoming. None of the expert reports has suggested solutions that involve awareness campaigns, education of the villagers and participation of the people. Initially, international aid agencies working in the subcontinent simply did not consider that As could be present in groundwater. Even now, while As in drinking water is being highlighted, there have been almost no studies on how additional As is introduced through the food chain, as large amounts of As are present in the agricultural irrigation water. Past mistakes, notably the ceaseless exploitation of groundwater for irrigation, continue unabated today; at this time, more groundwater is being withdrawn than ever before. No efforts have been made to adopt effective watershed management to harness the extensive surface water and rainwater resources of this region. Proper watershed management and participation by villagers are needed for the proper utilization of water resources and to combat the As calamity. As in groundwater may just be nature's initial warning about more dangerous toxins yet to come. What lessons have we really learned?  [Available online, abstract online (free) and full-text (to purchasers and subscribers).]

Arsenic contamination in Bangladesh groundwater: a major environmental and social disaster. Alam M.G.M.; Allinson G.; Stagnitti F.; Tanaka A.; Westbrooke M..  International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 1 September 2002, 12(3), pp. 235-253.

Arsenic contamination in groundwater: some analytical considerations.  David G. Kinniburgh, Walter Kosmus. Talanta 58 (2002) 165-180.  Abstract:  For countries such as Bangladesh with a significant groundwater arsenic problem, there is an urgent need for the arsenic-contaminated wells to be identified as soon as possible and for appropriate action to be taken. This will involve the testing of a large number of wells, potentially up to 11 million in Bangladesh alone. Field-test kits offer the only practical way forward in the timescale required. The classic field method for detecting arsenic (the 'Gutzeit' method) is based on the reaction of arsine gas with mercuric bromide and remains the best practical approach. It can in principle achieve a detection limit of about 10 ug l-1 by visual comparison of the coloured stain against a colour calibration chart. A more objective result can be achieved when the colour is measured by an electronic instrument. Attention has to be paid to interferences mainly from hydrogen sulfide. Due to analytical errors, both from the field-test kits and from laboratory analysis, some misclassification of wells is inevitable, even under ideal conditions. The extent of misclassification depends on the magnitude of the errors of analysis and the frequency distribution of arsenic observed, but is in principle predictable before an extensive survey is undertaken. For a country with an arsenic distribution similar to that of Bangladesh, providing care is taken to avoid sources of bias during testing, modern field-test kits should be able to reduce this misclassification to under 5% overall.  [Abstract online (free),. from this page, full paper available to purchase and to subscribers.]

Arsenic contamination of groundwater in West Bengal (India): build-up in soil-crop systems. S. K. Sanyal and S. K. T. Nasar. Paper presented to the International Conference on Water Related Disasters held in Kolkata on 5-6 December 2002.  Abstract: A large part of the Bengal delta basin bound by the rivers Bhagirathi and Padma is affected by arsenic contamination of groundwater of geogenic origin. The exact sequence of geochemical reactions releasing arsenic from the aquifer sediments is still debated. Only less than 10% of the total groundwater accounts for drinking purpose while more than 90% is used for crop-irrigational requirements. The present communication deals with the source of arsenic contamination in groundwater, accumulation of the toxin in soils and crops in the affected belt of West Bengal irrigated with contaminated groundwater, and in animal tissues and products, and demonstrates the pathways, other than drinking water, through which arsenic may have access to human, animal and crop systems. The retention of arsenic by the soil organic fraction in the affected sites has been demonstrated, so also the release potential of As from the resulting organo-As complexes by the competing oxyanions such as phosphate and nitrate. The application of FYM [sic] and phosphate was found to have opposing effect on release of native and applied arsenic in the contaminated soils, with FYM reducing such release, thereby tending to moderate the toxic effect of arsenic in soil-plant system. This agreed well with the findings of a rice pot-culture experiment. Different crop plants raised in a crop cafeteria experiment exhibited varying tendencies to accumulate arsenic in different plant parts in the following sequence: root>stem>leaf>economic produce. The inclusion of pulses/other legumes/green manure crops in cropping sequences, coupled with organic manuring, was found to moderate arsenic build-up in soil and plant parts. Among the microorganisms, two genera of blue-green algae (Anabaena sp. and Nostoc sp.), and four different types of bacteria showed promise of As-decontamination ability. However, arsenic concentration bio-magnified as one passed from the groundwater to crop plants via soil.  [Full textReferring page.

Arsenic contamination in Hizla, Bangladesh - sources, effects, and remedies. A. S. M. Kamal and Preeda Parkpian. ScienceAsia, Vol. 28. No. 2, pp 181-189, 2002.  Abstract: Various natural (high arsenic bearing strata and pyrite oxidation) and anthropogenic (agricultural, coal mining, metal smelting, and refining industry) sources are involved to arsenic pollution in water. Water, soil, and biological samples (vegetables, fish, and meat) were collected from potentially arsenic affected area - Hizla, Bangladesh - and analyzed to find the source of arsenic contamination. All analyses excluding water were carried out by X-Ray Fluorescence. Total arsenic determination of groundwater was conducted by field kit and cross-checked by Total Reflection X-Ray Fluorescence method. About 80% of shallow tubewell (10-30 m) water was contaminated (71 out of 89 samples), but none of the 35 deep tubewell (more than 200 m) water samples. Hair samples from patients, who have been drinking arsenic tainted water for several years and have been suffering with preliminary skin lesions, showed significant results (5.5 to 11.1 mg kg-1). Reasonable concentrations have not yet been investigated in biological and soil samples, as a source of arsenic pollution in Hizla. Arsenic in groundwater was found to be increased proportionally with iron but decreased inversely with the well depth. Analysis of borehole soil samples in different depths from arsenic contaminated area, initially confirmed by As test kit, will certainly identify the source of arsenic contamination in the study area.

Arsenic contamination of Bangladesh paddy field soils: implications for rice contribution to arsenic consumption. Meharg A.A. and Rahman M.M., 2003.  Environ. Sci. Technol., 37 (2), 229 -234.  Abstract: Arsenic contaminated groundwater is used extensively in Bangladesh to irrigate the staple food of the region, paddy rice (Oryza sativa L.). To determine if this irrigation has led to a buildup of arsenic levels in paddy fields, and the consequences for arsenic exposure through rice ingestion, a survey of arsenic levels in paddy soils and rice grain was undertaken. Survey of paddy soils throughout Bangladesh showed that arsenic levels were elevated in zones where arsenic in groundwater used for irrigation was high, and where these tube-wells have been in operation for the longest period of time. Regression of soil arsenic levels with tube-well age was significant. Arsenic levels reached 46 ug g-1 dry weight in the most affected zone, compared to levels below 10 ug g-1 in areas with low levels of arsenic in the groundwater. Arsenic levels in rice grain from an area of Bangladesh with low levels of arsenic in groundwaters and in paddy soils showed that levels were typical of other regions of the world. Modeling determined, even these typical grain arsenic levels contributed considerably to arsenic ingestion when drinking water contained the elevated quantity of 0.1 mg L-1. Arsenic levels in rice can be further elevated in rice growing on arsenic contaminated soils, potentially greatly increasing arsenic exposure of the Bangladesh population. Rice grain grown in the regions where arsenic is building up in the soil had high arsenic concentrations, with three rice grain samples having levels above 1.7 ug g-1.  [Full text.]

Arsenic contamination of the environment- a new perspective from central-east India. Piyush Kant Pandey, Sushma Yadav, Sumita Nair, Ashish Bhui. Environment International 28 (2002) 235-245.  Abstract: This paper reports a regional contamination of the environment in central-east India that does not share geology or boundary with the Bengal Delta Plain. About 30,000 people residing in 30 villages and towns are directly exposed to arsenic and more than 200,000 people are ''at risk.'' Complete geographical extent of this contamination is being established, and this newly reported contaminated area could be quite large. This paper further reports that the mechanisms involved in arsenic mobilisation are complex and the two theories of arsenic mobilisation, i.e., pyrite oxidation and oxyhydroxides reduction, do not fully explain the high levels of arsenic contamination. This paper also proposes the ''oxidation-reduction theory'' for arsenic mobilisation where the arsenic originates from the arsenopyrite oxidation and the arsenic thus mobilised forms the minerals and gets reduced underground in favourable Eh conditions. The stoppage of water withdrawal from the contaminated sources did not result in lowering of arsenic levels as expected according to the heavy groundwater extraction theory (pyrite oxidation theory). Cases of arsenicosis in the region are on the rise and the switchover to less contaminated water has not reversed the arsenicosis progression in the affected persons even after 2 years. Surface water of the rivers is also being contaminated because of the probable dislocation of contaminated groundwater due to the heavy rains in monsoon season, which indicates that the river water could be a major carrier of arsenic in dissolved or adsorbed forms that may be a cause of contamination of the delta plains.

Arsenic in cooked rice in Bangladesh. Bae M, Watanabe C, Inaoka T, Sekiyama M, Sudo N, Bokul MH, Ohtsuka R. Lancet 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1839-40.  Abstract: In Bangladesh, rice is boiled with an excessive amount of water, and the water remaining after cooking will be discarded. We did an on-site experiment to assess the effect of this cooking method on the amount of arsenic retained in cooked rice. The concentration of arsenic in cooked rice was higher than that in raw rice and absorbed water combined, suggesting a chelating effect by rice grains, or concentration of arsenic because of water evaporation during cooking, or both. The method of cooking and water used can affect the amount of arsenic in cooked rice, which will have implications for the assessment of the health risks of arsenic.  [Abstract.]

Arsenic in groundwater of the Bengal delta plain aquifers in Bangladesh.  P. Bhattacharya, G. Jacks, K. M. Ahmed, J. Routh, A. A. Khan. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 69:538-545 (2002). [Citation online; no abstract available.]

Arsenic removal using iron oxide loaded alginate beads. Anastasios I. Zouboulis and Ioannis A. Katsoyiannis. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 41(24), 2002, 6149-6155.  Abstract: The application of biopolymers (alginate), as sorbent supports, for the removal of arsenic from contaminated water has been investigated in the present study. Calcium alginate beads were placed in a column to form a fixed bed and treated (doped/coated) with hydrous ferric oxides. Three different types of modified alginate beads were examined for the removal of arsenic; the most efficient type was found to be doped with alginate and subsequently coated with iron oxides, whereas the other two types were calcium alginate beads doped or coated with iron oxides. The total amount of iron loaded on this material was found to be 3.9 mg of Fe/g of wet alginate bead. Approximately 230 bed volumes of a 50 g/L As(V) solution were treated before the breakthrough point was reached, whereas the removal of As(III) was not as efficient, reaching the breakthrough point after the treatment of only 45 bed volumes. The results were modeled using the bed depth service time and empty bed residence time models.  [At ACS Publications.]

Arsenic in subsurface water: its chemistry and removal.  SenGupta, A.K. and Greenleaf, J.E., 2002. In:  Environmental Separation of Heavy Metals (Ed. A. K. SenGupta), 265-306. Lewis Publishers, A CRC Press Co., Boca Raton, FL.

Arsenic mobility and groundwater extraction in Bangladesh.  Harvey, Charles F.; Swartz, Christopher H.; Badruzzaman, A.B.M.; Keon-Blute, Nicole; Yu, Winston; Ali, M. Ashraf; Jay, Jenny; Beckie, Roger; Niedan, Volker; Brabander, Daniel; Oates, Peter M.; Ashfaque, Khandaker N.; Islam, Shafiqul; Hemond, Harold F.; Ahmed, M. Feroze, 2002.  Science, 298, 1602-1606.  Abstract: High levels of arsenic in well water are causing widespread poisoning in Bangladesh. In a typical aquifer in southern Bangladesh, chemical data imply that arsenic mobilization is associated with recent inflow of carbon. High concentrations of radiocarbon-young methane indicate that young carbon has driven recent biogeochemical processes, and irrigation pumping is sufficient to have drawn water to the depth where dissolved arsenic is at a maximum. The results of .field injection of molasses, nitrate, and low-arsenic water show that organic carbon or its degradation products may quickly mobilize arsenic, oxidants may lower arsenic concentrations, and sorption of arsenic is limited by saturation of aquifer materials.  [Available online.] See also Comment on "Arsenic Mobility and Groundwater Extraction in Bangladesh" (I) and Comment on "Arsenic Mobility and Groundwater Extraction in Bangladesh" (II).

Arsenic-related health problems among hospital patients in southern Bangladesh. Mitra, A. K.; Bose, B. K.; Kabir, H.; Das, B. K.; Hussain, M., 2002.  Journal of Health Population and Nutrition, 20(3), 198-204. [ICDDR,B researchers]  Abstract:  To assess the health effects of arsenic poisoning and to determine the relationship among duration and severity of skin lesions, exposure dose of arsenic, and nutritional status of people, 150 patients attending the Dermatology Outpatients Department of Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital, Barisal, Bangladesh, were included in this cross-sectional study.  The study was conducted during January-December 2000.  Records of patients were collected prospectively using a pre-tested questionnaire, which included information on demography, sources of water for drinking and cooking, duration and amount of drinking-water obtained from shallow tubewells, clinical presentations, complications, and physical and laboratory findings.  Water samples from tubewells currently being used by individual patients were examined.  Nine percent of the patients were unaware that arsenic-contaminated water causes diseases.  Due to lack of alternative water supplies, 25% of the subjects were still drinking water from contaminated tubewells.  About 18% did not complain of any clinical symptoms, except that their skin lesions were ugly-looking, and 82% had moderate or severe skin lesions.  Thirty-one percent of the water samples had arsenic concentrations 10-fold higher than the permissible limit of 0.05 mg/L in Bangladesh and 50-fold higher than the WHO guideline value of 0.01 mg/L. The mean arsenic concentration in water was significantly associated with the severity of disease.  Body mass index correlated inversely (r = -0.298, p = 0.013) with the duration of disease after controlling for age.  The findings suggest the need to enhance public awareness on negative health effects of arsenic poisoning in rural Bangladesh.  From a public-health perspective, effective intervention strategies need to be developed to curb the exposure, strengthen rapid diagnostic facilities, establish effective treatment facilities in rural areas, and improve the nutritional status of people.  [Full text ]

Arsenic removal by reverse osmosis. Robert Y. Ning. Desalination 143 (2002) 237-241.  Arsenic is widely distributed in nature in air, water and soil. Acute and chronic arsenic exposure via drinking water has been reported in many countries, especially Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Mongolia, Thailand and Taiwan, where a large proportion of ground water is contaminated with arsenic at levels from 100 to over 2,000 micrograms per liter (ppb). Public health standards of maximum of 50 ppb have been adopted by the US and World Health Organization in the 1970s and the 80s. Carcinogenicity and genotoxicity led to the WHO recommendation of 10 ppb maximum level in 1993, followed by the US adoption of the same in 2001, with the US estimate that 5% of all US community water systems will have to take corrective actions to lower the current levels of arsenic in their drinking water. In high arsenic areas of the world, the need for better water treatment and resulting economic impact would be even greater. In this article, we briefly review the geochemistry, natural distribution, regulation, anthropogenic sources and removal mechanisms of arsenic, pointing especially to the promise of reverse osmosis (RO) as a practical means of purification. We conclude that arsenic in the commonly high oxidation states of (V) is very effectively removed by RO. With further attention to the removal of the weakly acidic arsenic (III) species in waters by the operation of RO at sufficiently high pHs made possible by the newer antiscalants, practical processes can be developed with RO to remove all major species of arsenic from water. Further studies are needed in the characterization of the arsenic species being treated and in the design of the RO process to match the demands.

Arsenic removal from water using advanced oxidation processes. Zaw, Myint, and Maree T. Emett. Toxicology Letters, 133(1), 7 July 2002, 113-118.  Abstract: Consumption of groundwaters containing natural arsenic at several hundred g/l (ppb) in countries such as Bangladesh has lead to the increased occurrence of many cancers particularly those of the skin and bladder, while concerns in the USA and Australia regarding the unknown health impact of drinking water containing tens of ppb of arsenic is leading to increasingly stringent maximum contaminant levels. The anaerobic conditions of these groundwaters result in the arsenic being present in its reduced form, hence the use of an oxidant is necessary if the arsenic is to be successfully removed by precipitation or ion exchange methods. Advance oxidation methods which utilise ultraviolet light and a photo absorber have been developed and patented, in which both iron salts and sulphite can be used as the photoabsorber. The former absorber has been developed for arsenic removal in rural areas of Bangladesh and the latter for groundwaters in countries such as the USA.  [Abstract online.

Arsenic toxicity and potential mechanisms of action. Hughes, Michael F. Toxicology Letters 133(1), 7 July 1-16 2002.  Abstract: Exposure to the metalloid arsenic is a daily occurrence because of its environmental pervasiveness. Arsenic, which is found in several different chemical forms and oxidation states, causes acute and chronic adverse health effects, including cancer. The metabolism of arsenic has an important role in its toxicity. The metabolism involves reduction to a trivalent state and oxidative methylation to a pentavalent state. The trivalent arsenicals, including those methylated, have more potent toxic properties than the pentavalent arsenicals. The exact mechanism of the action of arsenic is not known, but several hypotheses have been proposed. At a biochemical level, inorganic arsenic in the pentavalent state may replace phosphate in several reactions. In the trivalent state, inorganic and organic (methylated) arsenic may react with critical thiols in proteins and inhibit their activity. Regarding cancer, potential mechanisms include genotoxicity, altered DNA methylation, oxidative stress, altered cell proliferation, co- carcinogenesis, and tumor promotion. A better understanding of the mechanism(s) of action of arsenic will make a more confident determination of the risks associated with exposure to this chemical.  [Abstract online.]

Arsenic treatment technologies for solid, waste, and water. USEPA, September 2002. "The purpose of this report is to provide a synopsis of the availability, performance, and cost of 13 arsenic treatment technologies for soil, water, and waste....This report is intended to be used as a screening tool for arsenic treatment technologies. It provides descriptions of the theory, design, and operation of the technologies; information on commercial availability and use; performance and cost data, where available; and a discussion of factors affecting effectiveness and cost. As a technology overview document, the information can serve as a starting point for identifying options for arsenic treatment. The feasibility of particular technologies will depend heavily on site-specific factors, and final treatment and remedy decisions will require further analysis, expertise, and possibly treatability studies."  [Full text.]

Arsenic-uptake and accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.) irrigated with contaminated water. Abedin, M.J., Cotter-Howells, J., and Meharg, A.A. Plant and Soil (2002) 240: 311-319. [Full text available to purchasers & subscribersAbstract: Long-term use of arsenic contaminated groundwater to irrigate crops, especially paddy rice (Oryza sativa L.) has resulted in elevated soil arsenic levels in Bangladesh. There is, therefore, concern regarding accumulation of arsenic in rice grown on these soils. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the impact of arsenic-contaminated irrigation water on the growth and uptake of arsenic into rice grain, husk, straw and root. There were altogether 10 treatments which were a combination of five arsenate irrigation water concentrations (08 mg As l-1) and two soil phosphate amendments. Use of arsenate containing irrigation water reduced plant height, decreased rice yield and affected development of root growth. Arsenic concentrations in all plant parts increased with increasing arsenate concentration in irrigation water. However, arsenic concentration in rice grain did not exceed the maximum permissible limit of 1.0 mg As kg-1. Arsenic accumulation in rice straw at very high levels indicates that feeding cattle with such contaminated straw could be a direct threat for their health and also, indirectly, to human health via presumably contaminated bovine meat and milk. Phosphate application neither showed any significant difference in plant growth and development, nor in As concentrations in plant parts.

Arsenite cocarcinogenesis: an animal model derived from genetic toxicology studies. Toby G. Rossman, Ahmed N. Uddin, Fredric J. Burns, and Maarten C. Bosland. Environ Health Perspect 110(suppl 5):749-752 (2002).  Abstract: Although epidemiologic evidence shows an association between inorganic arsenic in drinking water and increased risk of skin, lung, and bladder cancers, no animal model for arsenic carcinogenesis has been successful. This lack has hindered mechanistic studies of arsenic carcinogenesis. Previously, we and others found that low concentrations (5 m) of arsenite (the likely environmental carcinogen), which are not mutagenic, can enhance the mutagenicity of other agents, including ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and alkylating agents. This enhancing effect appears to result from inhibition of DNA repair by arsenite, but not via inhibition of DNA repair enzymes. Rather, low concentrations of arsenite disrupt p53 function and upregulate cyclin D1. Failure to find an animal model for arsenic carcinogenesis might be because arsenite is not a carcinogen per se but acts as an enhancing agent (cocarcinogen) with a genotoxic partner. We tested this hypothesis with solar UVR in hairless but immunocompetent Skh1 mice. Mice were given 10 mg/L sodium arsenite in drinking water (or not) and irradiated with 1.7 KJ/m2 solar UVR 3 times weekly. As expected, no tumors appeared in any organs in control mice or in mice given arsenite alone. After 26 weeks irradiated mice given arsenite had a 2.4-fold increase in skin tumor yield compared with mice given UVR alone. The tumors were mostly squamous cell carcinomas, and those occurring in mice given UVR plus arsenite were much larger and more invasive. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that arsenic acts as a cocarcinogen with a second (genotoxic) agent by inhibiting DNA repair and/or enhancing positive growth signaling. Skin cancers in populations drinking water containing arsenic may be caused by the enhancement by arsenic compounds of carcinogenesis induced by UVR (or other environmental agents). It is possible that lung and bladder cancers associated with arsenic in drinking water may also require a carcinogenic partner. [At EHP Online.]

As(III) removal from groundwaters using fixed-bed upflow bioreactors.  I. Katsoyiannis, A. Zouboulis, H. Altho, H. Bartel. Chemosphere 47 (2002) 325-332. Abstract: The application of biological oxidation of iron and manganese, as a potential treatment method for the removal of arsenic from contaminated groundwaters, was examined in this paper. This method was based on the growth of certain species of indigenous bacteria, which are capable of oxidizing the soluble iron and manganese ions; the oxidized forms can be subsequently removed from the aqueous stream by over 97%, through their transformation to insoluble oxides and separation by a suitable filter medium. Arsenic was removed by around 80%, under certain conditions, which were found to be sufficient for Fe(II) removal (dissolved oxygen 2.7 mg/l, redox 280-290 mV, pH 7.2, U 8.25 m/h). The specific treatment technique presents several advantages towards conventional physicochemical treatment methods, such as enhanced coagulation or direct adsorption since: (a) it does not require the addition of other chemicals for oxidizing and removing As(III), (b) it does not require close monitoring of a breakthrough point, as in conventional column adsorption processes and (c) it could find application for the removal of, at least, three groundwater contaminants (Fe, Mn, As).  [At ScienceDirect.]

Biological gradient between long-term arsenic exposure and carotid atherosclerosis.  Chih-Hao Wang, Jiann-Shing Jeng, Ping-Keung Yip, Chi-Ling Chen, Lin-I Hsu, Yu-Mei Hsueh, Hung-Yi Chiou, Meei-Mann Wu, and Chien-Jen Chen. Circulation 2002;105:1804.  [Abstract is free, full text/pdf requires payment for article or journal subscription]

Combined effects of anions on arsenic removal by iron hydroxides. Xiaoguang Meng, George P. Korfiatis, Sunbaek Bang, Ki Woong Bang. Toxicology Letters Toxicology Letters Volume 133, Issue 1, 7 July 2002, Pages 103-111. Abstract: Batch experiments were conducted to investigate the combined effects of phosphate, silicate, and bicarbonate on the removal of arsenic from Bangladesh groundwater (BGW) and simulated groundwater by iron hydroxides. The apparent adsorption constants indicated that the affinity of the anions for iron hydroxide sites decreased in the following order arsenate>phosphate>arsenite>silicate>bicarbonate. Phosphate, silicate, and bicarbonate decreased the removal of As(III) even at relatively low concentrations and low surface site coverage. Phosphate (00.08 mM), silicate (00.8 mM), and bicarbonate (014 mM) in separate solutions had none to moderate effects on As(V) removal in a solution containing 6.7 mg/l Fe and 0.3 ppm As(V). In the presence of bicarbonate and silicate the adverse effect of phosphate on As(V) adsorption was magnified. The residual As(V) concentration after iron hydroxide treatment increased from less than 13 g/l in separate bicarbonate (2.2 mM) and phosphate (0.062 mM) solutions to 110 g/l in the solution containing both anions. The results suggested the combined effects of phosphate, silicate, and bicarbonate caused the high mobility of arsenic in Bangladesh water. 

The concentrations of arsenic and other toxic elements in Bangladesh's drinking water. Frisbie, Seth H; Ortega, Richard; Maynard, Donald M; Sarkar, Bibudhendra.   Environmental Health Perspectives 110(11), 1147-1153.  Abstract: For drinking water, the people of Bangladesh used to rely on surface water, which was often contaminated with bacteria causing diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and other life-threatening diseases. To reduce the incidences of these diseases, millions of tubewells were installed in Bangladesh since independence in 1971. This recent transition from surface water to groundwater has significantly reduced deaths from waterborne pathogens; however, new evidence suggests disease and death from arsenic (As) and other toxic elements in groundwater are affecting large areas of Bangladesh. In this evaluation, the areal and vertical distribution of As and 29 other inorganic chemicals in groundwater were determined throughout Bangladesh. This study of 30 analytes per sample and 112 samples suggests that the most significant health risk from drinking Bangladesh's tubewell water is chronic As poisoning. The As concentration ranged from < 0.0007 to 0.64 mg/L, with 48% of samples above the 0.01 mg/L World Health Organization drinking water guideline. Furthermore, this study reveals unsafe levels of manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), and chromium (Cr). Our survey also suggests that groundwater with unsafe levels of As, Mn, Pb, Ni, and Cr may extend beyond Bangladesh's border into the four adjacent and densely populated states in India. In addition to the health risks from individual toxins, possible multimetal synergistic and inhibitory effects are discussed. Antimony was detected in 98% of the samples from this study and magnifies the toxic effects of As. In contrast, Se and Zn were below our detection limits in large parts of Bangladesh and prevent the toxic effects of As.

Chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges in individuals exposed to arsenic through drinking water in West Bengal, India. J. Mahata, A. Basu, S. Ghoshal, J.N. Sarkar, A.K. Roy, G. Poddar, A.K. Nandyb, A. Banerjee, K. Raya, A.T. Natarajan c, R. Nilsson d, A.K. Giri, 2002.  Mutation Research 400559, 1-11.  Abstract: Arsenic contamination in groundwater has become a worldwide problem. Currently an unprecedented number of people in West Bengal, India and Bangladesh are exposed to the ubiquitous toxicant via drinking water in exposure levels far exceeding the maximum recommended limit laid down by WHO. This arsenic epidemic has devastated nine districts of West Bengal encompassing an area of 38,865 km2 leading to various clinical manifestations of chronic arsenicosis. We conducted a human bio-monitoring study using chromosomal aberrations (CA) and sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) as end points to explore the cytogenetic effects of chronic arsenic toxicity in the population of North 24 Parganas, one of the arsenic affected districts inWest Bengal. Study participants included 59 individuals residing in this district where the mean level (S.E.) of arsenic in drinking water (ug/l) was 211.7015.28. As age matched controls with similar socio-economic status we selected 36 healthy, asymptomatic individuals residing in two unaffected districts-Midnapur and Howrah where the mean arsenic content ofwater (ug/l) was 6.350.45. Exposurewas assessed by standardized questionnaires and by detecting the levels of arsenic in drinkingwater, nails, hair and urine samples. In the exposed group the mean arsenic concentrations in nails (ug/g), hair (ug/g) and urine (ug/l) samples were 9.040.78, 5.630.38 and 140.528.82, respectively, which were significantly high (P < 0.01) compared to the corresponding control values of 0.440.03, 0.300.02 and 5.910.49, respectively. Elevated mean values (P < 0.01) of the percentage of aberrant cells (8.08%) and SCEs per cell (7.26) were also observed in the exposed individuals in comparison to controls (1.96% and 5.95, respectively). The enhanced rates of CAs and SCEs among the residents of North 24 Parganas are indicative of the cytogenetic damage due to long term exposure to arsenic through consumption of contaminated water.

Diagenetic control on arsenic partitioning in sediments of the Meghna River delta, Bangladesh. Anawar, H. M.; Komaki, K.; Akai, J.; Takada, J.; Ishizuka, T.; Takahashi, T.; Yoshioka, T. and Kato, K.  Environmental Geology, Vol. 41 (7), 816-825.

Effectiveness and reliability of arsenic field testing kits: are the million dollar screening projects effective or not?  Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman, Debapriyo Mukherjee, Mrinalkumar Sengupta, Uttam Kumar Chowdhury, Diliplodh, Chittaranjanchanda, Shibtoshroy, Md. Selim, Quazi Quamruzzaman, Abul Hasnat Milton, S. M. Shahidullah, Md. Tofizurrahman, and Dipankar Chakraborti, 2002.  Environmental Science & Technology, 36(24), 5385-5394.  Abstract:  The exposure of millions to arsenic contaminated water from hand tube wells is a major concern in many Asiatic countries. Field kits are currently used to classify tube wells as delivering arsenic below 50 g/L (the recommended limit in developing countries) as safe, painted green or above 50 g/L, unsafe and painted red. More than 1.3 million tube wells in Bangladesh alone have been tested by field kits. A few million U.S. dollars have already been spent and millions are waiting for the ongoing projects. However, the reliability of the data generated through field kits is now being questioned. Samples from 290 wells were tested by field kits and by a reliable laboratory technique to ascertain the reliability of field kits. False negatives were as high as 68% and false positives up to 35%. A statistical analysis of data from 240 and 394 other wells yielded similar rates. We then analyzed 2866 samples from previously labeled wells and found 44.9% mislabeling in the lower range (<50 g/L) although mislabeling was considerably reduced in the higher range. Variation of analytical results due to analysts and replicates were pointed out adopting analysis of variance (ANOVA) technique. Millions of dollars are being spent without scientific validation of the field kit method. Facts and figures demand improved, environmentally friendly laboratory techniques to produce reliable data.  [Full text.]

Electrochemical measurement and speciation of inorganic arsenic in groundwater of Bangladesh. Rasul S.B.; Munir A.K.M.; Hossain Z.A.; Khan A.H.; Alauddin M.; Hussam A., 2002.  Talanta, 16 August, 58(1), pp. 33-43.

Enhanced frequency of micronuclei in individuals exposed to arsenic through drinking water in West Bengal, India. A. Basu a, J. Mahata a, A.K. Roy b, J.N. Sarkar, G. Poddar, A. Nandi, P.K. Sarkar, P.K. Dutta, A. Banerjee, M. Dasd, K. Raya, S. Roychaudhury, A.T. Natarajan, R. Nilsson, A.K. Giri. Mutation Research 400416 (2002) 1-12.  Abstract: In West Bengal, India arsenic in ground water has been found to be above the maximum permissible limit in seven districts covering an area of 37,493 km2. In the present study, evaluation of the micronuclei (MN) formation in oral mucosa cells, urothelial cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes was carried out in the symptomatic individuals exposed to arsenic through drinking water. Forty five individuals with cutaneous signs of arsenicism from four affected districts (368.11μg/l of As in drinking water) were considered as the exposed group and 21 healthy individuals with no symptoms of arsenic poisoning and residing in two unaffected districts (5.49uμg/l of As) were considered as controls. The exposed and control groups had similar age distribution and socioeconomic status. Standardised questionnaires were utilised and medical examination was conducted to ascertain exposure history, sociodemographic characteristics, diet, health, medication, addiction and chief symptoms in the study participants. Arsenic exposure was confirmed by measuring the arsenic content in the drinking water, nails, hair and urine samples from the volunteers. Arsenic contents in the urine, nail and hair in the exposed group were 24.45μg/l, 12.58 [sic], 6.97μg/g, respectively which were significantly high in comparison to corresponding control group values of 4.88μg/l, 0.51 [sic] and 0.34 g/g, respectively. Exposed individuals showed a statistically significant increase in the frequency of MN in oral mucosa, urothelial cells and lymphocytes (5.15, 5.74 and 6.39/1000 cells, respectively) when compared with the controls (0.77, 0.56 and 0.53/1000 cells, respectively). Thus, the above results indicate that the symptomatic individuals exposed to arsenic through drinking water in this region have significant cytogenetic damage. [Online at ScienceDirect.]

Epidemiologic evidence of diabetogenic effect of arsenic. Chin-Hsiao Tseng a, Ching-Ping Tseng, Hung-Yi Chiou, Yu-Mei Hsueh, Choon-Khim Chong, Chien-Jen Chen. Toxicology Letters Volume 133, Issue 1, 7 July 2002, Pages 69-76.  Abstract: It is well documented that arsenic can lead to skin lesions, atherosclerotic diseases and cancers. The association between arsenic exposure and diabetes mellitus is a relatively new finding. Up to now, there are six epidemiologic reports linking diabetes mellitus with arsenic exposure from environmental and occupational sources. Two reports in Taiwan carried out in the blackfoot disease-hyperendemic villages, one cross-sectional and one prospective follow-up of the same cohort, indicate that arsenic exposure from drinking artesian well water is associated with prevalence and incidence of diabetes mellitus in a dose-responsive pattern. The observation of the relation between arsenic exposure and diabetes mellitus is further supported by studies carried out in Sweden and Bangladesh. In Sweden, case-control analyses of death records of copper smelters and glass workers revealed a trend of increasing diabetes mellitus with increasing arsenic exposure from inhalation. In Bangladesh, prevalence of diabetes mellitus among arsenic-exposed subjects with keratosis was about five times higher than unexposed subjects. Increasing trends of diabetes mellitus with indices of arsenic exposure in drinking water seems to be independent of the presence of skin lesions associated with arsenic exposure. Although these studies consistently show an association between arsenic exposure and diabetes mellitus, the weak study designs of cross-sectional or case- control, the use of glucosuria or diabetes death as diagnostic criteria and the lack of adjustment for possible confounders in some studies, are major limitations that may reduce the strength of the evidence.

A field based evaluation of household arsenic removal technologies for the treatment of drinking water.  Sutherland D, Swash PM, Macqueen AC, McWilliam LE, Ross DJ, Wood SC.  Environ Technol 2002 Dec;23(12):1385-403.  Abstract:  Seven household treatment technologies for the removal of arsenic (Alcan, BUET, DPHE/DANIDA, Garnet, Sono, Stevens, Tetrahedron) were each evaluated using water from 63 different tube wells taken from 3 different regions of Bangladesh. The technologies that were evaluated were chosen from those that appeared user friendly, readily available and whose promoters were open to participate in the study. Arsenic concentrations in feed and treated waters were analysed by the PeCo 75 arsenic field test kit, AA-hydride generation and ICP-AES. Feed water arsenic concentrations were found to be up to 600 microg l(-1). The more advanced treatment methods using: activated alumina (Alcan, BUET); metallic iron (Sono); anionic exchange resin (Tetrahedron) and iron coagulation (Stevens) were found to be most easily used and efficiently reduced arsenic concentrations to below the Bangladesh drinking water standard (0.05 mg As l(-1)). The use of aluminium sulphate coagulants and permanganate oxidants in the DPHE/DANIDA technology introduced unacceptably high concentrations of aluminium and manganese into the treated waters and are not recommended in household water treatment applications. While arseric concentrations were initially considered to be of paramount importance, it became clear that such technologies can increase the risk of bacterial contamination in the treated water and this needs serious consideration as this could create a hazard much greater than the arsenic contained in the water. Ground waters sampled during the course of this study were mostly found to be bacteria free. To minimize any risks relating to bacterial contamination the addition of hypochlorite or the boiling of water is necessary.  [At PubMed.]

Fighting arsenic: listening to rural communities - WSP study investigates people's preference for arsenic mitigation options and their willingness to pay.  [Info online.]  "...Finding the most effective, acceptable and sustainable set of solutions for [the arsenic] crisis is imperative.  The search for ... solutions has to-date focused largely on the 'supply side', concentrating on engineering devises for removing arsenic. There has been less effort to understand preferences of rural households. This is a critical gap. People's perceptions and preferences are essential for appropriateness and sustainability of the proposed alternatives. WSP-SA launched a study to investigate the above. The study uses the contingent valuation method for assessing people's preferences for various arsenic mitigation options and their willingness to pay for such alternatives.  Important findings of the study include the following: 1. Communities are reluctant to accept technologies that are less convenient than the current handpump technology. They overwhelmingly voiced support for accessing simple, localized piped-water systems in the rural areas and expressed their willingness to pay for such system.  2. People opted for piped water - aspiring for better quality of service -irrespective of the arsenic problem.  3. The study reiterates the need for offering a menu of choice to the communities.  4. The study shows that the level of awareness about arsenic and the perception of health hazards associated with drinking arsenic contaminated water is low.  5. Finally, the study suggests that the arsenic crisis requires a greater focus on institutional approaches in addition to technological innovations.  For more information contact Shafiul Azam Ahmed, Water and Sanitation Specialist, WSP-SA"

Groundwater flow in the Ganges delta. Charles F. Harvey, Asish R. Basu, Stein B. Jacobsen, Robert J. Poreda, Carolyn B. Dowling, and Pradeep K. Aggarwal, 2002.  Science May 31; 296: 1563 (in Technical Comments). [Available online.]

Increasing awareness of arsenic in Bangladesh: lessons from a public education programme. Hanchett, Suzanne, Qumrun Nahar, Astrid Van Agthoven, Cindy Geers and MD Ferdous Jamil Rezvi. Health Policy and Planning, 2002, 17(4): 393-401.  Abstract: Experts are making a major effort to find technical solutions to the serious public health problems posed by arsenic in drinking water in Bangladesh, but public education strategies receive less systematic attention. This article presents the findings of a study evaluating the impact of a 1999 campaign by the 18 District Towns Project to educate the public about the arsenic problem in six Bangladesh towns, where half of the population was estimated to be using arsenic-contaminated domestic water: (1) Water users were advised not to consume arsenic-affected tube-well water; (2) A simple, temporary water treatment method was recommended for those using such water, if they had no safe alternative source; (3) Caretakers of tube-wells having arsenic-free water were advised to share their water sources with others. This evaluation study, utilizing a combination of quantitative and qualitative social research methods, found those influenced by the programme to have higher awareness levels and significantly lower levels of risk behaviour than others. Yet more than half of the at-risk, programme-influenced survey respondents were found still to be drinking (57%) or cooking with (54%) arsenic-affected water. Despite the fact that the campaign did not have a satisfactory public health impact, the experience can inform future efforts to educate the Bangladeshi public about arsenic. One finding is widespread confusion about trusted tube-well water being newly labelled as 'unsafe'. Some think the problem is in the hand pumps themselves. Awareness of life threatening danger from arsenic contamination was found to be low. Learning points from this experience are: the value of explaining together with water testing; giving people opportunities to ask questions; repeating messages; continuing to educate children about the serious risks of consuming surface water; conducting community-wide education programmes for people of all ages; and evaluating the impact of specific public education strategies. Respecting such principles in public information campaigns will greatly help the public to benefit from future technical developments.  [Abstract online.]

Iodine fortification is related to increased weight-for-age and birthweight in children in Asia. Mason JB, Deitchler M, Gilman A, Gillenwater K, Shuaib M, Hotchkiss D, Mason K, Mock N, Sethuraman K. Food Nutr Bull 2002 Sep;23(3):292-308.  Abstract: Severe iodine deficiency causes stunting and mental retardation in utero, but the relation between mild deficiency and child growth is not well known. The use of iodated salt in relation to anthropometric data was examined from recent survey data. After potential confounding factors had been controlled for, significant associations were seen in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The use of iodated salt was related to increased weight-for-age and mid-upper-arm circumference, most strongly in the second year of life, mainly affecting soft tissue (thinness). The relation with weight-for-age was greater among children of mothers with lower body mass index. The use of iodated salt was related to birthweight in Sri Lanka and in the Philippines, where iodized oil capsules given during pregnancy had a negative effect when used with high levels of iodine in salt. The associations generally were concentrated in large geographic areas, possibly because of interactions with other environmental factors (e.g., selenium and arsenic). The apparent growth response to iodine may reflect functional effects of mild deficiency, which is widespread, possibly including effects on brain development.... [From body of paper:] a number of factors appear to modify the association of iodine with child anthropometry. The relationship is not the same in all locations or all groups. Geographic clustering appeared when the associations were mapped for Bangladesh, i.e. as anthropometry/iodine regression coefficients estimated within areas. Mapping by district showed that the association occurred mainly in the center and center-east of the country; additional variables were not available in the dataset that explained this finding. However, a large part of the water supply is known to be heavily contaminated with arsenic, particularly in the central-south section of the country [33, p. 39]. Arsenic inhibits the function of selenium, which is essential for the metabolism of thyroid hormones [3, p. 44-46]. Further research into this potentially complex relationship is needed.  [Full text.]

An overview of arsenic contamination in groundwater of Nepal and its removal technologies at household level. Amar Neku and Nirmal Tandukar. Paper presented on Environment Day (5 Jun) 2002.  [Full text online.]

Pathology related to chronic arsenic exposure. Jose A. Centeno, Florabel G. Mullick, Leonor Martinez, Norbert P. Page, Herman Gibb, David Longfellow, Claudia Thompson, and Elena R. Ladich. Environ Health Perspect 110(suppl 5):883-886 (2002).  Abstract: Millions now suffer the effects of chronic arseniasis related to environmental arsenic exposure. The biological mechanisms responsible for arsenic-induced toxicity and especially chronic effects, including cancer, are not well known. The U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) is participating in an international research effort to improve this understanding by the development of the International Tissue and Tumor Repository for Chronic Arsenosis (ITTRCA). The ITTRCA obtains, archives, and makes available for research purposes, tissues from subjects exposed to arsenic. We provide here a short overview of arsenic-induced pathology, briefly describe arsenic-induced lesions in the skin and liver, and present five case reports from the ITTRCA. Arsenic-induced skin pathology includes hyperkeratosis, pigmentation changes, Bowen disease, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinomas. A unique spectrum of skin lesions, known as arsenical keratosis, is rather characteristic of chronic arseniasis. Bowen disease, or squamous cell carcinoma in situ of the skin, has been well documented as a consequence of arsenical exposure. A spectrum of liver lesions has also been attributed to chronic arseniasis. Of these, hepatocellular carcinoma, angiosarcoma, cirrhosis, and hepatoportal sclerosis have been associated with arsenic exposure. We present case reports that relate to these health conditions, namely, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and Bowen disease of the skin and hepatocellular carcinoma and angiosarcoma of the liver. Four patients had been treated with arsenical medications for such conditions as asthma, psoriasis, and syphilis, and one case occurred in a boy chronically exposed to arsenic in drinking water. Key words: angiosarcoma, arsenic, Bowen disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatoportal sclerosis, hyperkeratosis, liver, noncirrhotic portal fibrosis, squamous cell carcinoma.  [At EHP Online.]

PIXE [particle induced x-ray emission] analysis of hair in arsenic pollution, Bangladesh. Habib, M. A.; Miono, S.; Sera, K.; Futatsugawa, S.  International Journal of Pixe, 12(1/2), 19-34.

Promotion of well-switching to mitigate the current arsenic crisis in Bangladesh. Alexander van Geen, Habibul Ahsan, Allan H. Horneman, Ratan K. Dhar, Yan Zheng, Iftikhhar Hussain, Kazi Matin Ahmed, Andrew Gelman, Martin Stute, H. James Simpson, Sean Wallace, Christopher Small, Faruque Parvez, Vesna Slavkovich, Nancy J. LoIacono, Marck Becker, Zhongqi Cheng, Hassina Momotaj, Mohammad Shahnewaz, Ashraf Ali Seddique, and Joseph H. Graziano. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2002, 80 (9).  [Online.]

Proven alternatives for aboveground treatment of arsenic in groundwater. USEPA, October 2002. Engineering Forum Issue Paper. "This paper is a revision of the June 2002 version, and contains additional data identified for the related USEPA report 'Arsenic treatment technologies for solid, waste, and water.' (2002)" [Full text.]

Relative toxicity of arsenite and arsenate on germination and early seedling growth of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Abedin M.J. and Meharg A.A..   Plant and Soil, June, 243(1), pp. 57-66.  Abstract: Elevated soil arsenic levels resulting from long-term use of arsenic contaminated ground for irrigation in Bangladesh may inhibit seed germination and seedling establishment of rice, the countrys main food crop. A germination study on rice seeds and a short-term toxicity experiment with different concentrations of arsenite and arsenate on rice seedlings were conducted. Percent germination over control decreased significantly with increasing concentrations of arsenite and arsenate. Arsenite was found to be more toxic than arsenate for rice seed germination. There were varietal differences among the test varieties in response to arsenite and arsenate exposure. The performance of the dry season variety Purbachi was the best among the varieties. Germination of Purbachi was not inhibited at all up to 4 mg l-1 arsenite and 8 mg l-1 arsenate treatment. Root tolerance index (RTI) and relative shoot height (RSH) for rice seedlings decreased with increasing concentrations of arsenite and arsenate. Reduction of RTI caused by arsenate was higher than that of arsenite. In general, dry season varieties have more tolerance to arsenite or arsenate than the wet season varieties. [Full text available to purchasers and subscribers.]

Removal of arsenic from contaminated water sources by sorption onto iron-oxide-coated polymeric materials. Ioannis A. Katsoyiannis, Anastasios I. Zouboulis. Water Research 36 (2002) 5141-5155.  Abstract: The modification of polymeric materials (polystyrene and polyHIPE) by coating their surface with appropriate adsorbing agents (i.e. iron hydroxides) was investigated in the present work, in order to apply the modified media in the removal of inorganic arsenic anions from contaminated water sources. The method, termed adsorptive filtration, has been classified as an emerging technology in water treatment processes as it presents several advantages towards conventional technologies: the production of high amounts of toxic sludge can be avoided and it is considered as economically more efficient; whereas it has not yet been applied in full-scale treatment plants for low-level arsenic removal. The present experiments showed that both modified media were capable in removing arsenic from the aqueous stream, leading to residual concentration of this toxic metalloid element below 10 mg/L, which is the new maximum concentration limit set recently by the European Commission and imposed by the USEPA. Though, among the examined materials, polyHIPE was found to be more effective in the removal of arsenic, as far as it concerns the maximum sorptive capacity before the filtration bed reaches the respective breakthrough point. [At ScienceDirect.]

Respiratory effects and arsenic contaminated well water in Bangladesh. Milton AH, Rahman M. Int J Environ Health Res 2002 Jun;12(2):175-9.  Abstract: Arsenic in drinking water causes a widespread concern in Bangladesh, where a major proportion of tube wells is contaminated. Arsenic ingestion causes skin lesions, which is considered as definite exposure. A prevalence comparison study of respiratory effects among subjects with and without arsenic exposure through drinking water was conducted in Bangladesh. Exposed participants were recruited through health awareness campaign programs. Unexposed participants were randomly selected, where tubewells were not contaminated with arsenic. A total of 169 individuals participated (44 exposed individuals exhibiting skin lesions; 125 unexposed individuals). The arsenic concentrations ranged from 136 to 1000 micro g l(-1). The information regarding respiratory system signs and symptoms were also collected and the analyses were confined to nonsmokers. The crude prevalence ratio for chronic bronchitis and chronic cough amounted to 2.1 (95% CI 0.7-6.1). The prevalence ratios for chronic bronchitis increased with increasing exposure, i.e., 1.0, 1.6, 2.7 and 2.6 using unexposed as the reference. The prevalence ratios for chronic cough were 1.0, 1.6, 2.7 and 2.6 for the exposure categories, using the same unexposed as the reference. The dose-response trend was the same (P < 0.1) for both conditions. These results add to evidence that long-term ingestion of arsenic exposure can cause respiratory effects.  [Abstract.]

Review article - chronic arsenic poisoning. Alan H. Hall. 2002, Toxicology Letters (in press as of 10/02).  Abstract (uncorrected proof): Symptomatic arsenic poisoning is not often seen in occupational exposure settings. Attempted homicide and deliberate long-term poisoning have resulted in chronic toxicity. Skin pigmentation changes, palmar and plantar hyperkeratoses, gastrointestinal symptoms, anemia, and liver disease are common. Noncirrhotic portal hypertension with bleeding esophageal varices, splenomegaly, and hypersplenism may occur. A metallic taste, gastrointestinal disturbances, and Mee's lines may be seen. Bone marrow depression is common. 'Blackfoot disease' has been associated with arsenic-contaminated drinking water in Taiwan; Raynaud's phenomenon and acrocyanosis also may occur. Large numbers of persons in areas of India, Pakistan, and several other countries have been chronically poisoned from naturally occurring arsenic in ground water. Toxic delirium and encephalopathy can be present. CCA-treated wood (chromated copper arsenate) is not a health risk unless burned in fireplaces or woodstoves. Peripheral neuropathy may also occur. Workplace exposure or chronic ingestion of arsenic-contaminated water or arsenical medications is associated with development of skin, lung, and other cancers. Treatment may include the use of chelating agents such as dimercaprol (BAL), dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), and dimercaptopanesulfonic acid (DMPS).

A review of animal models for the study of arsenic carcinogenesis. Wang, Jian Ping, Lixia Qi, Michael R. Moore and Jack C. Ng. Toxicology Letters 133(1), 7 July, 17-31 2002.  Abstract: As inorganic arsenic is a proven human carcinogen, significant effort has been made in recent decades in an attempt to understand arsenic carcinogenesis using animal models, including rodents (rats and mice) and larger mammals such as beagles and monkeys. Transgenic animals were also used to test the carcinogenic effect of arsenicals, but until recently all models had failed to mimic satisfactorily the actual mechanism of arsenic carcinogenicity. However, within the past decade successful animal models have been developed using the most common strains of mice or rats. Thus dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), an organic arsenic compound which is the major metabolite of inorganic arsenicals in mammals, has been proven to be tumorigenic in such animals. Reports of successful cancer induction in animals by inorganic arsenic (arsenite and arsenate) have been rare, and most carcinogenetic studies have used organic arsenicals such as DMA combined with other tumor initiators. Although such experiments used high concentrations of arsenicals for the promotion of tumors, animal models using doses of arsenicals species closed to the exposure level of humans in endemic areas are obviously the most significant. Almost all researchers have used drinking water or food as the pathway for the development of animal model test systems in order to mimic chronic arsenic poisoning in humans; such pathways seem more likely to achieve desirable results.  [Abstract online.]

A review of the source, behaviour and distribution of arsenic in natural waters. P.L. Smedley, D.G. Kinniburgh. Applied Geochemistry 17 (2002) 517-568.  Abstract: The range of As concentrations found in natural waters is large, ranging from less than 0.5 μg l-1 to more than 5000 μg l-1. Typical concentrations in freshwater are less than 10 μg l-1 and frequently less than 1 μg l-1. Rarely, much higher concentrations are found, particularly in groundwater. In such areas, more than 10% of wells may be 'affected' (defned as those exceeding 50 μg l-1) and in the worst cases, this ?gure may exceed 90%. Well-known high-As groundwater areas have been found in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, China and Hungary, and more recently in West Bengal (India), Bangladesh and Vietnam. The scale of the problem in terms of population exposed to high As concentrations is greatest in the Bengal Basin with more than 40 million people drinking water containing 'excessive' As. These large-scale 'natural' As groundwater problem areas tend to be found in two types of environment: firstly, inland or closed basins in arid or semi-arid areas, and secondly, strongly reducing aquifers often derived from alluvium. Both environments tend to contain geologically young sediments and to be in ?at, low-lying areas where groundwater ?ow is sluggish. Historically, these are poorly ?ushed aquifers and any As released from the sediments following burial has been able to accumulate in the groundwater. Arsenic-rich groundwaters are also found in geothermal areas and, on a more localised scale, in areas of mining activity and where oxidation of sulphide minerals has occurred. The As content of the aquifer materials in major problem aquifers does not appear to be exceptionally high, being normally in the range 1-20 mg kg-1. There appear to be two distinct 'triggers' that can lead to the release of As on a large scale. The ?rst is the development of high pH (>8.5) conditions in semi-arid or arid environments usually as a result of the combined effects of mineral weathering and high evaporation rates. This pH change leads either to the desorption of adsorbed As (especially As(V) species) and a range of other anion-forming elements (V, B, F, Mo, Se and U) from mineral oxides, especially Fe oxides, or it prevents them from being adsorbed. The second trigger is the development of strongly reducing conditions at near-neutral pH values, leading to the desorption of As from mineral oxides and to the reductive dissolution of Fe and Mn oxides, also leading to As release. Iron (II) and As(III) are relatively abundant in these groundwaters and SO4 concentrations are small (typically 1mg l-1 or less). Large concentrations of phosphate, bicarbonate, silicate and possibly organic matter can enhance the desorption of As because of competition for adsorption sites. A characteristic feature of high groundwater As areas is the large degree of spatial variability in As concentrations in the groundwaters. This means that it may be diffcult, or impossible, to predict reliably the likely concentration of As in a particular well from the results of neighbouring wells and means that there is little alternative but to analyse each well. Arsenic-affected aquifers are restricted to certain environments and appear to be the exception rather than the rule. In most aquifers, the majority of wells are likely to be unaffected, even when, for example, they contain high concentrations of dissolved Fe.

The role of biomethylation in toxicity and carcinogenicity of arsenic: a research update. Miroslav Sty'blo, Zuzana Drobn, Ilona Jaspers, Shan Lin, and David J. Thomas. Environ Health Perspect 110(suppl 5):767-771 (2002).  Abstract: Recent research of the metabolism and biological effects of arsenic has profoundly changed our understanding of the role of metabolism in modulation of toxicity and carcinogenicity of this metalloid. Historically, the enzymatic conversion of inorganic arsenic to mono- and dimethylated species has been considered a major mechanism for detoxification of inorganic arsenic. However, compelling experimental evidence obtained from several laboratories suggests that biomethylation, particularly the production of methylated metabolites that contain trivalent arsenic, is a process that activates arsenic as a toxin and a carcinogen. This article summarizes this evidence and provides new data on a) the toxicity of methylated trivalent arsenicals in mammalian cells, b) the effects of methylated trivalent arsenicals on gene transcription, and c) the mechanisms involved in arsenic methylation in animal and human tissues.  [At EHP Online.]

Role of iron in controlling speciation and mobilization of arsenic in subsurface environment. Purnendu Bose and Archana Sharma. Water Research, in press Water Res 2002 Nov;36(19):4916-26.  Abstract: Widespread arsenic contamination of groundwater has been reported of late in Bangladesh and West Bengal state of India. On the basis of arsenic geochemistry, three probable mechanisms have been cited for arsenic mobility in aquifers of West Bengal and Bangladesh. First, mobilization of arsenic due to the oxidation of arsenic-bearing pyrite minerals. Second, dissolution of arsenic-contaminated iron oxy-hydroxides (FeOOH) due to onset of reducing conditions in the subsurface. Third, due to the release of arsenic sorbed to aquifer minerals by competitive exchange with phosphate ions, that migrates into aquifers due to application of fertilizer to surface soil. Based on the reviewof .eld data from the affected region, it appears that the second mechanism described above is the most probable. Two reduction processes associated with this mechanism were investigated, viz., reduction of iron oxy-hydroxide to iron (II), which results in the mobilization of arsenic, and reduction of arsenic (V) to arsenic (III), which may enhance mobility of arsenic under certain conditions. These reactions, in the opinion of some researchers, are possible in subsurface environments mainly through microbial intervention. However, through the data presented in this paper, it has been demonstrated that above red-ox reactions involving iron and arsenic are also possible through predominantly abiotic pathways. While these results do not necessarily imply that abiotic red-ox processes are dominant in all subsurface environments containing iron and arsenic, it is entirely possible that abiotic interactions as described here may be responsible for a substantial amount of transformations involving iron and arsenic in anoxic subsurface environments. [Abstract at PubMed.]

Searching for an optimum solution to the Bangladesh arsenic crisis. Bruce K. Caldwell, John C. Caldwell, S.N. Mitra, and Wayne Smith. Social Science & Medicine (2002, in press).  Abstract: Thirty years ago Bangladesh experienced very high levels of infant and child mortality, much of it due to water-borne disease in deltaic conditions where surface water was highly polluted. In what appeared to be one of the great public health achievements, 95% of the population were converted to drinking bacteria-free tubewell water from underground aquifers. Recently, it has been shown that perhaps 20% of this water is arsenic contaminated and alternatives to tubewell water have been sought. This paper reports on two national surveys collaboratively carried out in 2000 by the Health Transition Centre, Australian National University and Mitra and Associates, Dhaka: A census of tubewells and a household survey of tubewell use and arsenicosis. The study found that the tubewell revolution has been promoted not only by health considerations but also by the demand for a household water facility and the desire by women to reduce workloads associated with using surface water. Because of this, and because the population had absorbed the message about safe tubewell water, it is argued that the movement away from the use of tubewell water should be as limited as possible, even if this means using safe tubewells which are often found in the neighbourhood. To enable such a move the most urgent need is not changing the source of water but comprehensive national water testing providing essential information to households about which wells are safe and which are not.

Skin manifestations of arsenicosis in two villages in Bangladesh.  Takafumi Kadono, Tsukasa Inaoka, Nobuko Murayama, Kayo Ushijima, Megumi Nagano, Satoshi Nakamura, Chiho Watanabe, Kunihiko Tamaki, and Ryutaro Ohtsuka.  International Journal of Dermatology 41(12), 841, December 2002.  Abstract - Background: Arsenic contamination in groundwater affects 35 million people in Bangladesh, but the prevalence of arsenic contamination in local communities remains to be clarified. As skin manifestations are sensitive markers of arsenicosis, we examined the skin of adults and adolescents in two villages to elucidate the severity of arsenicosis. Methods: Five hundred and sixty-one villagers were randomly selected for the evaluation of their skin. Three indicators, i.e. keratosis on the soles, keratosis on the palms, and melanosis and hypopigmentation on the trunk, were quantified for analysis. Results: More than 50% of the villagers showed some skin manifestations due to arsenicosis. Keratosis on the soles was the most sensitive marker for the detection of arsenicosis at an early stage. Interestingly, the skin manifestations were more severe in males than in females. There was no correlation between the age and the severity of skin manifestations. Conclusions The prevalence of arsenicosis was quite high and males were more vulnerable to arsenic contamination. Using skin manifestations, especially keratosis on the soles, as useful markers to detect and evaluate arsenicosis, it is clear that there is an urgent need to assess the exact prevalence and severity of arsenicosis in the population of Bangladesh in order to take measures to treat and control this problem.  [Full text.]

Survey of arsenic in food composites from an arsenic-affected area of West Bengal, India. Roychowdhury T, Uchino T, Tokunaga H, Ando M. Food Chem Toxicol 2002 Nov;40(11):1611-21. [AbstractAbstract: An investigation of total arsenic in food composites, collected from the villagers, was carried out in arsenic-affected areas of the Murshidabad district, West Bengal where the agricultural system is mostly groundwater dependent. The shallow, large-diameter tubewells installed for agricultural irrigation contain an appreciable amount of arsenic (mean 0.085 mg/l, n=6). Even the soil is arsenic-contaminated (mean 11.35 mg/kg, n=36), so some arsenic can be expected in the food chain from crops cultivated in this area. The results revealed that the individual food composite and food groups containing the highest mean arsenic concentrations (microg/kg) are potato skin (292.62 and 104), leaf of vegetables (212.34 and 294.67), arum leaf (331 and 341), papaya (196.50 and 373), rice (226.18 and 245.39), wheat (7 and 362), cumin (47.86 and 209.75), turmeric powder (297.33 and 280.9), cereals and bakery goods (156.37 and 294.47), vegetables (91.73 and 123.22), spices (92.22 and 207.60) and miscellaneous items (138.37 and 137.80) for the Jalangi and Domkal blocks, respectively. Arsenic is absorbed by the skin of most of the vegetables. The arsenic concentration in fleshy vegetable material is low (mean 2.72 mm/kg, n=45). Higher levels of arsenic were observed in cooked items compared with raw. Daily dietary intakes of arsenic (microg) from the foodstuffs for adults are 171.20 and 189.13 and for children are 91.89 and 101.63 in the Jalangi and Domkal blocks, respectively.

Tubewells and arsenic in Bangladesh: challenging a public health success story. Bruce K. Caldwell, John C. Caldwell, S. N. Mitra and Wayne Smith. Paper presented at the IUSSP Regional Population Conference on Southeast Asia's Population in a Changing Asian Context, Session 9 Development, Urbanization, Environment and Population Health, Bangkok, 10 13 June 2002. [Full text; referring pageAbstract: Bangladesh was the scene for one of the developing world's great public health successes, the reduction of morbidity and mortality from water-borne disease by converting the drinking water source for 94 percent of the rural population to tubewells. Now, that success is being endangered by the discovery that 20 million people are in great danger and another 20 million in some danger of being poisoned by arsenic contamination from tubewell water. This article reports findings from the first national probability survey of the rural population and a census of tubewells aimed at looking at the social, demographic and epidemiological context of the crisis. The survey covered 3,780 households reporting on the water source and development of arsenicosis among over 20,000 people. The tubewell census covered 9,174 tubewells. The article presents data on the respondents' history of drinking tubewell water, knowledge of the arsenic problem, identification of arsenicosis, as well as the impact upon them of the national campaign, the testing of tubewells, and their subsequent sources of water. The study found that the tubewell revolution has been promoted not only by health considerations but also by the demand for a household water facility and the desire by women to reduce workloads associated with using surface water. Because of this, and because the population had absorbed the message about safe tubewell water, it is argued that the movement away from the use of tubewell water should be as limited as possible, except in the event where no safe tubewells are found in the neighbourhood. The most urgent need is not changing the source of water but comprehensive national water testing.

Uptake kinetics of arsenic species in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Abedin, M. J., J. Feldmann and A. A. Meharg. Plant Physiol. 2002, 128:1120-1128. [Full text HTML and .pdfAbstract: Arsenic (As) finds its way into soils used for rice (Oryza sativa) cultivation through polluted irrigation water, and through historic contamination with As-based pesticides. As is known to be present as a number of chemical species in such soils, so we wished to investigate how these species were accumulated by rice. As species found in soil solution from a greenhouse experiment where rice was irrigated with arsenate contaminated water were arsenite, arsenate, dimethylarsinic acid, and monomethylarsonic acid. The short-term uptake kinetics for these four As species were determined in 7-d-old excised rice roots. High-affinity uptake (0-0.0532 mM) for arsenite and arsenate with eight rice varieties, covering two growing seasons, rice var. Boro (dry season) and rice var. Aman (wet season), showed that uptake of both arsenite and arsenate by Boro varieties was less than that of Aman varieties. Arsenite uptake was active, and was taken up at approximately the same rate as arsenate. Greater uptake of arsenite, compared with arsenate, was found at higher substrate concentration (low-affinity uptake system). Competitive inhibition of uptake with phosphate showed that arsenite and arsenate were taken up by different uptake systems because arsenate uptake was strongly suppressed in the presence of phosphate, whereas arsenite transport was not affected by phosphate. At a slow rate, there was a hyperbolic uptake of monomethylarsonic acid, and limited uptake of dimethylarsinic acid.

Willingness to pay for arsenic-free, safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh : methodology and results. Ahmad, J.K. .. et al, 2002. Field note / Water and Sanitation Program. New Delhi, India : Water and Sanitation Program - South Asia. 16 p. : 2 fig., photogr., 4 tab. 12 ref.  Brief description of a study on willingness to pay for arsenic-free, safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh which investigated the factors that influence demand for arsenic-free, safe drinking water and examined preferences regarding household/community-based arsenic mitigation technologies. The focus of this report is on the design, particularly the methodology used for estimating willingness to pay (WTP). The estimates of WTP obtained are presented. [Full text.

Some key results of the field survey, together with the main findings and policy recommendations, have been published in a separate note entitled, 'Fighting arsenic, listening to rural communities: findings from a study on willingness to pay for arsenic-free, safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh'. [Full text.]


2001

Arsenic alters the function of the glucocorticoid receptor as a transcription factor. Kaltreider, Ronald C., Alisa M. Davis, Jean P. Lariviere, and Joshua W. Hamilton.  Environ Health Perspect 109:245-251.   [Abstract | Dartmouth Feb 01 press release, "Arsenic: a new kind of endocrine disrupter?" | "Science Selections" EHP science-journalism article]

Arsenic contamination in groundwater, Murshidabad district, West Bengal.  D. Chandrasekharam, J. Karmakar, Z. Berner and D. Stben. Water-Rock Interaction-10, Proceed. Villasimus, Italy, June 10-15, 2001.  Abstract: Arsenic content in groundwater and surface waters from Murshidabad district of West Bengal varies from 0.05 to 3.7 mg/l. Arsenic was scavenged by Fe(III) minerals (primarily as iron oxyhydroxides), and to a lesser extent by Mn(IV) phases and is released into the groundwater due to lowering of the redox conditions in the aquifer system. Similarities in some trace element ratios of the Rajmahal traps with those of the arsenic contaminated groundwaters in this areas designates the Rajmahal traps as a possible primary source for the arsenic contamination. [Full text online.]

Arsenic contamination of ground and pond water and water purification system using pond water in Bangladesh.  H. Yokota, K. Tanabe, M. Sezaki, Y. Akiyoshi, T. Miyata, K. Kawahara, S. Tsushima, H. Hironaka, H. Takafuji, M. Rahman, Sk.A. Ahmad, M.H.S.U. Sayed, and M.H. Faruquee. Engineering Geology, Vol. 60 (1-4) (2001) pp. 323-331. [Abstract; password/purchase access to full text] Abstract:  This paper, firstly, shows the distribution of arsenic-contaminated groundwater in Samta village. This village, which is in Jessore district in Bangladesh, was chosen as a model village for investigating the mechanism of groundwater contamination. 90% of the tube wells in this village had arsenic concentrations above the Bangladesh standard of 0.05mg/l. Tube wells with arsenic concentrations of over 0.50mg/l were distributed in the southern part of the village with a belt-like shape from east to west. Secondly, groundwater distribution is discussed with respect to its flow and the high arsenic zone (As0.50mg/l) agrees well with the drifting zone of the groundwater. Furthermore, arsenic-free water supply systems suitable for a small area in the village have been developed. A pond sand filter (PSF) system which purifies pond water is discussed in this paper. Prior to the construction of the PSF, the water quality in ponds was examined for arsenic levels. The inflow of drainage from the tube wells was found to be the major cause of arsenic contamination of pond water. The PSF installed in Samta is working very well and produces a good quality of treated water.

Arsenic crisis in Indian subcontinent: local solution to a global problem. SenGupta, A.K., Gupta, A. and Deb, A., 2001.  Water 21: IWA Magazine, December, 2001: 34-37.

Arsenic groundwater contamination and sufferings of people in West Bengal-India and Bangladesh. Chowdhury, U. K., B.K. Biswas, T. Roy Chowdhury, B. K. Mandal, G. Samanta, G. K. Basu, C.R. Chanda, D. Lodh, K. C. Saha, D. Chakraborti, S.C. Mukherjee, S. Roy, S. Kabir, Quamruzzaman.  In: Trace Elements in Man and Animal, Publisher: Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York.

Arsenic in drinking water: 2001 update. Board on Environmental Studies & Toxicology, National Academy Press. xxvi + 226 pp. [Update to Arsenic in Drinking Water, 1999.]  "In this report, the NRC [National Research Council]'s Subcommittee to Update the 1999 Arsenic in Drinking Water Report reviews the available toxicological, epidemiological, and risk assessment literature that has been published since the 1999 report. The subcommittee reviewed data for dose-response assessment and risk estimation; assessed whether the most recent EPA analysis is adequate for estimating an effective dose for a 1% response; determined whether EPA's analysis appropriately considers and characterizes the available data on the mode of action of arsenic and the information on dose-response and uncertainties when assessing the public health impacts; and determined whether EPA's risk estimates for 3, 5, 10, and 20ug/l of arsenic are consistent with available scientific information, including information from new studies." - pp. ix-x.  [Full text of book.]

Arsenic in drinking water and pregnancy outcomes. S. Akhtar Ahmad, M.H. Salim Ullah Sayed, Shampa Barua, Manzurul Haque Khan, M.H. Faruquee, Abdul Jalil, S. Abdul Hadi, and Humayun Kabir Talukder. Environmental Health Perspectives 109, (6), June 2001.  Abstract: We studied a group of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) who were chronically exposed to arsenic through drinking water to identify the pregnancy outcomes in terms of live birth, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, and preterm birth. We compared pregnancy outcomes of exposed respondents with pregnancy outcomes of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) who were not exposed to arsenic-contaminated water. In a cross-sectional study, we matched the women in both exposed and nonexposed groups for age, socioeconomic status, education, and age at marriage. The total sample size was 192, with 96 women in each group (i.e., exposed and nonexposed). Of the respondents in the exposed group, 98% had been drinking water containing 0.10 mg/L arsenic and 43.8% had been drinking arsenic-contaminated water for 5-10 years. Skin manifestation due to chronic arsenic exposure was present in 22.9% of the respondents. Adverse pregnancy outcomes in terms of spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, and preterm birth rates were significantly higher in the exposed group than those in the nonexposed group (p = 0.008, p = 0.046, and p = 0.018, respectively). [At EHP Online.].

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, 37(1), 109-117.  [Full paper available on the LAG website.] Abstract: "In the deltaic plain of the Ganges-Meghna-Brahmaputra Rivers, arsenic concentrations in groundwater commonly exceed regulatory limits (>50 g L-1) because FeOOH is microbially reduced and releases its sorbed load of arsenic to groundwater. Neither pyrite oxidation nor competitive exchange with fertilizer phosphate contribute to arsenic pollution. The most intense reduction and so severest pollution is driven by microbial degradation of buried deposits of peat. Concentrations of ammonium up to 23 mg L-1 come from microbial fermentation of buried peat and organic waste in latrines. Concentrations of phosphorus of up to 5 mg L-1 come from the release of sorbed phosphorus when FeOOH is reductively dissolved and from degradation of peat and organic waste from latrines. Calcium and barium in groundwater come from dissolution of detrital (and possibly pedogenic) carbonate, while magnesium is supplied by both carbonate dissolution and weathering of mica. The 87Sr/86Sr values of dissolved strontium define a two-component mixing trend between monsoonal rainfall (0.711 0.001) and detrital carbonate (<0.735).

Arsenic poisoning in groundwater - health risk and geochemical sources in Bangladesh. H.M. Anawara, J. Akaib, K.M.G. Mostofac, S. Safiullahd, S.M. Tareqd. Environment International 27 (2002) 597-604.  Abstract: Of the 2508 water samples analyzed in 10 districts of Bangladesh, 51%, on an average, contained arsenic levels of 0.05 to 2.50 mg/l. 95% of nail, 96% of hair, and 94% of urine samples contained arsenic above the normal level. Approximately 3.58 million people out of a total of 17.92 million who are drinking water containing arsenic levels > 0.20 mg/l are potentially exposed to high risk of health hazard. Eight thousand and five hundred arsenic patients are identified; they are suffering from various skin lesions, gangrene in leg, skin, lung, bladder, liver, and renal cancer. A big portion of the total population is highly vulnerable to various internal cancers. Lowest arsenic concentration in drinking water producing dermatological disease is found to be 103 μg/l. However, the exposure time to develop arsenicosis varies from case to case reflecting its dependence on arsenic level in drinking water and food, nutritional status, genetic variant of human being, and compounding factors. This study has determined the high intensity of fluorescent humic substances in drinking water containing elevated concentrations of arsenic and very low concentrations of heavy metals. The synergistic/antagonistic effect of fluorescent compounds present in drinking water may aggravate the toxicity of arsenic. Geochemical study suggests that arsenic may be released from both reductive dissolution of Fe and Mn (oxy)hydroxide and microbial oxidation of organic matter.

Arsenic pollution of groundwater in Bangladesh. Kimiko Tanabe, Hiroshi Yokota, Hiromi Hironaka, Sachie Tsushima, Yoshihiro Kubota. Applied Organometallic Chemistry April 2001, 15(4) 241-251. Abstract: Arsenic concentrations in groundwater around the village of Samta, Jessore District, Bangladesh were measured. Distribution patterns of arsenic in groundwater were determined. Arsenic concentrations in drinking water tubewells mostly exceeded WHO guidelines.  [Full text online, requires online subscription]

The arsenic problem and its awareness in Bangladesh population: results of a large population-based survey. M.F. Parvez, H. Ahsan, Y. Chen, A. van Geen, A.Z.M.I. Hussain, H. Momotaj, A. Horneman, R. Dhar, Y. Zheng, M. Stute, H.J. Simpson, V. Slavkovich, N.J. Lolacono, M. Shahnewaz, K.M. Ahmed, and J.H. Graziano. Paper presented at "Arsenic in Drinking Water" international conference at Columbia University 26-27 Nov 2001.  [Poster paper online.]

Arsenic removal during conventional aluminium-based drinking-water treatment. Jan Gregor, Wat. Res. 35(7)1659-1664. Abstract: "The changing forms and concentrations of arsenic through aluminium-based coagulation treatment processes were tracked for three drinking-water treatment plants. This has provided direct evidence of where and how arsenic is removed. In general, soluble As(V) is converted to particulate As(V) by adsorption during rapid mixing, and is removed along with naturally-occurring particulate arsenic predominantly by clarification. Soluble As(III) tracks through the treatment processes and is converted to soluble As(V) during final chlorination. The ability of a water treatment process to achieve the maximum acceptable concentration for arsenic in drinking water is dependent on the concentration of As(III) in the source water."

Arsenic removal from contaminated water by the Soyatal Formation, Zimapn Mining District, Mexico - a potential low-cost low-tech remediation system. Ongley L.K.; Armienta M.A.; Heggeman K.; Lathrop A.S.; Mango H.; Miller W.; Pickelner S. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, February 2001, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 23-31(9).  Abstract: The groundwater in Zimapn, Mexico has arsenic concentrations that range from below detection limits to >1 mg l-1. Rural residents of the valley need a low-cost, low-tech remediation process to reduce the arsenic concentrations to <50 g l-1, the Mexican drinking water standard. Laboratory experiments show that the arsenic remediation potential of the Soyatal Formation, an ubiquitous clay-rich limestone, is superior to that of other rocks from the region. Experimentally contaminated water (ECW) was produced by reacting de-ionized water with tailings. The ECW (0.6 mg As l-1) was then reacted with various rocks from the Zimapn region. Although all rocks caused a decrease in the aqueous arsenic concentration, the arsenic concentration was below detection limits (<0.030 mg l-1) in any ECW that had been reacted with the Soyatal Formation. Other experiments established that a rock:water weight ratio of 1:10 can reduce the aqueous arsenic concentration in native water from 0.5 mg l-1 to <0.030 mg l-1. The calcareous shale of the Soyatal Formation contains kaolinite and illite. Both minerals are known to adsorb arsenic. The adsorptive characteristics of the Soyatal Formation may provide the basis for an acceptable low-cost low-tech remediation system.

Arsenic species in the environment. W. R. Cullen. Paper presented at the USGS Workshop on Arsenic in the Environment, February 21-22, 2001, Denver, CO. [Full text; referring page.]  "The principal soluble or volatile arsenic species found in the terrestrial and fresh water environment are listed in Table 1. Those found in the marine environment are listed in Table 2. It is important to note that the organic derivatives can exist in two oxidization states equivalent to the inorganic species arsenate and arsenite. The history of their discovery parallels the development of analytical methodology. The first compound to be properly characterized was trimethylarsine, a gas produced by microorganisms. Volatilization of the compound separated it from the matrix and made identification possible, even in 1933, by using classical techniques."

Arsenite is a cocarcinogen with solar ultraviolet radiation for mouse skin: An animal model for arsenic carcinogenesis. Rossman, T.G., Uddin, A.N., Burns, F.J. and Bosland, M.C. 2001. Toxicol. Appl. Pharm 176:64-71. [Full text online.]

Association of blood arsenic levels with increased reactive oxidants and decreased antioxidant capacity in a human population of northeastern Taiwan. Meei-Maan Wu, Hung-Yi Chiou, Tsung-Wei Wang, Yu-Mei Hsueh, Iuan-Horng Wang, Chien-Jen Chen, and Te-Chang Lee. Environmental Health Perspectives 109(10), October 2001.  Abstract: Arsenic is a notorious environmental toxicant known as both a carcinogen and an atherogen in human beings, but the pathogenic mechanisms are not completely understood. In cell culture studies, trivalent arsenic enhanced oxidative stress in a variety of mammalian cells, and this association may be closely associated with the development of arsenic-related diseases. To investigate the effect of arsenic exposure on oxidative stress in humans, we conducted a population study to determine the relationships of blood arsenic to reactive oxidants and antioxidant capacity at the individual level. We recruited 64 study subjects ages 42-75 years from residents of the Lanyang Basin on the northeast coast of Taiwan, where arsenic content in well water varies from 0 to >= 3,000 g/L. We used a chemiluminescence method, with lucigenin as an amplifier for measuring superoxide, to measure the plasma level of reactive oxidants. We used the azino-diethyl-benzthiazoline sulphate method to determine the antioxidant capacity level in plasma of each study subject. We determined arsenic concentration in whole blood by hydride formation with an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The average arsenic concentration in whole blood of study subjects was 9.60 9.96 g/L ( SD) with a range from 0 to 46.50 g/L. The level of arsenic concentration in whole blood of study subjects showed a positive association with the level of reactive oxidants in plasma (r = +0.41, p = 0.001) and an inverse relationship with the level of plasma antioxidant capacity (r = -0.30, p = 0.014). However, we found no significant association (p = 0.266) between levels of plasma reactive oxidants and antioxidant capacity. Our results also show that the lower the primary arsenic methylation capability, the lower the level of plasma antioxidant capacity (p = 0.029). These results suggest that ingestion of arsenic-contaminated well water may cause deleterious effects by increasing the level of reactive oxidants and decreasing the level of antioxidant capacity in plasma of individuals. Persistent oxidative stress in peripheral blood may be a mechanism underlying the carcinogenesis and atherosclerosis induced by long-term arsenic exposure.  [At EHP Online.]

Characterization of arsenic bearing sediments in Gangetic delta of West Bengal-India. Chakraborti, Dipankar, Gautam K Basu, Bhajan K Biswas, Uttam K Chowdhury, Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman, Kunal Paul, Tarit Roy Chowdhury, Chitta R. Chanda, Dilip Lodh.  In: Arsenic Exposure and Health Effects, Edited by W. R. Chappell, C.O.Abernathy, R.L. Calderon, 2001; Publisher: Elsevier, Amsterdam-Lausanne-New York-Oxford-Tokyo.

Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Panel on Micronutrients, Subcommittees on Upper Reference Levels of Nutrients and of Interpretation and Use of Dietary Reference Intakes, and the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board. National Academy Press, 650pp (approx.).  [To arsenic section on page 400 of online copy of the book]

DNA damage in buccal epithelial cells from individuals chronically exposed to arsenic via drinking water in Inner Mongolia, China.Feng Z, Xia Y, Tian D, Wu K, Schmitt M, Kwok RK, Mumford JL. Anticancer Res Jan-Feb;21(1A):51-7. [Abstract]

Effect of spirulina on arsenicosis patients in Bangladesh. Hassina Momotaj and A Z M Iftikhar Hussain. Paper presented at "Arsenic in Drinking Water" international conference at Columbia University 26-27 Nov 2001.  Abstract: A double-blind randomized clinical trial was carried out among Arsenicosis patients of Sonargaon thana of Narayanganj district, to see the effect of Spirulina on Arsenicosis disease resulting from drinking arsenic contaminated ground water through hand pump tubewells in many parts of Bangladesh. Spirulina is a microscopic blue green algae, used as a food supplement but it has some therapeutic value in treating some ailments. It is rich in protein, amino acid, beta-carotene, vitamins etc. 50 arsenicosis patients has been identified through simple random sampling from 185 arsenicosis patients of three villages, who had been diagnosed as cases of arsenicosis by the physicians, depending on the presence of visible signs. The patients included male and female of different age. A double blind method was followed during the drug distribution. It was found after distribution that 33 patient got Spirulina and 17 patient got placebo. 3 gm Spirulina per day per person and same dose of placebo was used as drugs for three-month duration and consumption of arsenic free safe water was ensured for both the group (Spirulina and placebo) during the total duration of study. Physical examinations of these patients were done carefully at every fifteen days interval during the intervention using a structured checklist. After three month it was found that 27 (81.81%) patients showed evidence of improvement by diminishing the visible manifestation among 33 patients who got Spirulina. [Two patients showed the signs of improvement among the fifteen patients who received placebo. - Ed.]  [Conference paper online.]

Element concentrations in urine of patients suffering from chronic arsenic poisoning. Xie Y, Miyamoto H, Kondo M, Koga H, Zhang A, Ohmichi M, Inaba Y, Chiba M.  Tohoku J Exp Med Mar;193(3):229-35 [Abstract]

Genetic toxicology of a paradoxical human carcinogen, arsenic: a review. Basu A, Mahata J, Gupta S, Giri AK. Mutat Res May;488(2):171-94.  [Abstract]

Geochemical and palaeohydrological controls on pollution of groundwater by arsenic. Ravenscroft, P., J.M. McArthur & B.A. Hoque. Proceedings, Fourth International Conference on Arsenic Exposure & Health Effects, San Diego, June 2000. Eds: W.R. Chappell, C.O. Abernathy & R.L.  Calderon. Elesevier Science Ltd, Oxford.  [Full text, 4.2Mb Acrobat file]

Groundwater arsenic calamity in West Bengal-India and Bangladesh. Chowdhury, U.K., B.K. Biswas, G. Samanta, B. K. Mandal, T. Roy Chowdhury, R. K. Dhar, G. K. Basu, C. R. Chanda, K. C. Saha, S. Roy, S. Kabir and D. Chakraborti.  In: Bioavailability and its potential role in risk assessment, Publisher: Oxford.

Groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh. Biswas, B.K., U.K. Chowdhury, M.M. Rahman, K. Paul, G. Samanta, T. Roy Chowdhury, B.K. Mandal, C.R. Chanda, G.K. Basu, D. Lodh, R.K. Dhar, S. Roy, Q. Quamruzzaman, S.C. Mukherjee and D. Chakraborti.  In: Environmental toxicology of metals and metalloids - environmental chemistry, toxicology and health, Australia.

Identification of dimethylarsinous and monomethylarsonous acids in human urine of the arsenic-affected areas in West Bengal, India. Mandal BK, Ogra Y, Suzuki KT.  Chem Res Toxicol 14(4):371-378. [Abstract]

Incidence of transitional cell carcinoma and arsenic in drinking water: a follow-up study of 8,102 residents in an arseniasis-endemic area in northeastern Taiwan. Hung-Yi Chiou, Shu-Ti Chiou, Yi-Hsiang Hsu, Yi-Li Chou, Chin-Hsiao Tseng, Min-Li Wei and Chien-Jen Chen. Am. J. Epidemiol. 153(5): 411-418. [Abstract

Induction of oxyradicals by arsenic: implication for mechanism of genotoxicity. Su X. Liu, Mohammad Athar, Istvan Lippai, Charles Waldren, and Tom K. Hei. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 98, Issue 4, 1643-1648, February 13, 2001.  Abstract: Although arsenic is a well-established human carcinogen, the mechanisms by which it induces cancer remain poorly understood. We previously showed arsenite to be a potent mutagen in human-hamster hybrid (AL) cells, and that it induces predominantly multilocus deletions. We show here by confocal scanning microscopy with the fluorescent probe 5',6'-chloromethyl-2',7'- dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate that arsenite induces, within 5 min after treatment, a dose-dependent increase of up to 3-fold in intracellular oxyradical production. Concurrent treatment of cells with arsenite and the radical scavenger DMSO reduced the fluorescent intensity to control levels. ESR spectroscopy with 4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-1-hydroxypiperidine (TEMPOL-H) as a probe in conjunction with superoxide dismutase and catalase to quench superoxide anions and hydrogen peroxide, respectively, indicates that arsenite increases the levels of superoxide-driven hydroxyl radicals in these cells. Furthermore, reducing the intracellular levels of nonprotein sulfhydryls (mainly glutathione) in AL cells with buthionine S-R-sulfoximine increases the mutagenic potential of arsenite by more than 5-fold. The data are consistent with our previous results with the radical scavenger DMSO, which reduced the mutagenicity of arsenic in these cells, and provide convincing evidence that reactive oxygen species, particularly hydroxyl radicals, play an important causal role in the genotoxicity of arsenical compounds in mammalian cells.  [Full text online.  See also the Columbia News science journalism article about this paper.]

An inter-laboratory comparison of arsenic analysis in Bangladesh. Aggarwal, P.K., M. Dargie, M. Groening, K.M. Kulkarni, and J.J. Gibson. Unpublished report of the Isotope Hydrology Section, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna. 16pp. [Full text, 270kb Acrobat file] From referring page:  "The IAEA conducted an inter-laboratory comparison involving 17 laboratories in Bangladesh to evaluate the quality of arsenic analysis available in the country. The reported arsenic concentrations in synthetic standards (concentration 0 to ~500 ppb) were found to be highly variable. For field samples, reported results range from 0 to 396 ppb and less than one third of the participating laboratories obtained results that were within about 20% of the expected values (about 60 ppb) obtained by a laboratory cooperating with the IAEA (University of Rochester). The inter-laboratory comparison points to a lack of consistency in analytical results that have been and are being obtained in Bangladesh. More importantly, drinking water wells where elevated arsenic concentrations have been found may in fact have low concentrations. Similarly, wells that have been found to be free of arsenic may in fact have substantially higher arsenic concentrations." 

Investigation of skin manifestations of arsenicism due to intake of arsenic-contaminated groundwater in residents of Samta, Jessore, Bangladesh. M. Kurokawa; K. Ogata; M. Idemori; S. Tsumori; H. Miyaguni; S. Inoue; N. Hotta. Archives of Dermatology 137(1), 102-103.

Invited commentary: arsenic and cancer of the urinary tract.  Kenneth P. Cantor. Am J Epidemiol 153(5):419-421. [Abstract]

Laboratory and field assessment of arsenic testing field kits in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.  Pande SP, Deshpande LS, Kaul SN.  Environ Monit Assess Apr;68(1):1-18. [Abstract]

Males in rural Bangladeshi communities are more susceptible to chronic arsenic poisoning than females: analyses based on urinary arsenic. Watanabe C, Inaoka T, Kadono T, Nagano M, Nakamura S, Ushijima K, Murayama N, Miyazaki K, Ohtsuka R. Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Dec;109(12):1265-70.  Abstract: Spot urine samples were collected from the inhabitants of two rural communities in northwestern Bangladesh. We compared arsenic levels in the urine samples ([As](u); n = 346) with those in water from tube wells ([As](tw); range < 1-535 microg/L; n = 86) on an individual basis. The small variation of [As](u) within subjects and highly positive correlation with [As](tw) indicate that [As](u) is a useful indicator of exposure. Analyses of [As](u) showed that creatinine correction was necessary, that [As](u) only reflected recent exposure, and that there were substantial interindividual differences for a given [As](tw) level. To evaluate the toxic effects of arsenic exposure, we constructed a system for rating skin manifestations, which revealed distinct sex-related differences. Comparison of males and females in the same households confirmed that skin manifestations were more severe in the males, and in the males of one community a dose-response relationship between [As](u) and the degree of skin manifestation was evident. The results of this study indicate that [As](u) in spot urine samples can be used as an exposure indicator for As. They suggest that there might be sex-related, and perhaps community-related, differences in the relationship between [As](u) and skin manifestations, although several confounding factors, including sunlight exposure and smoking habits, might contribute to the observed sex difference. The existence of such differences should be further confirmed and examined in other populations to identify the subpopulations sensitive to chronic arsenic toxicity.  [At EHP Online.]

Methylated trivalent arsenic species are genotoxic. Mass MJ, Tennant A, Roop BC, Cullen WR, Styblo M, Thomas DJ, Kligerman AD.  Chem Res Toxicol Apr 16;14(4):355-361. [Abstract]

Preliminary evaluation of arsenic cycling in the sediments of Bangladesh. G. N. Breit, J. Whitney, A. Foster, A.H. Welch, J. Yount, R. Sanzolone, Md. K. Islam, Md. S. Islam, Md. M. Islam, S. Sutton, M. Newville. Paper presented at the USGS Workshop on Arsenic in the Environment, February 21-22, 2001, Denver, CO. [Full textreferring page.]  "Introduction: Members of the Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) are investigating the processes responsible for the high concentrations of arsenic in ground water underlying much of Bangladesh. The dissolved arsenic concentrations have been attributed to reductive dissolution of iron oxides (Nickson and others, 2000), oxidation of sulfides (Roy Chowdhury, 1999), and anion exchange (Acharyya and others, 2000). Preliminary analysis of our results indicate iron oxide dissolution is important but adsorption of As(III) to phyllosilicates is also a component of arsenic cycling in the sediments. Bangladesh is underlain by the Bengal delta, which formed by deposition of sediments from the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers. The sediment is mainly sand and silt from the Himalayan highlands. The delta has a monsoonal climate, with alternating wet and dry seasons. The sedimentation rate is rapid, approximately 0.2 cm yr- 1."

Prevention of endemic arsenism with selenium. Wang Wuyi, Yang Linsheng, Hou Shaofan, Tan Jian'an and Li Hairong. Current Science, Vol. 81, No. 9, 10 November 2001 1215-1218.  Abstract: Arsenism is a disease with severe damage to human health resulting from long-term exposure to high arsenic levels in the environment. Selenium was used to prevent the accumulation of arsenic in the human body and rectify the damages in the experiment. After the administration of 100-200 mg Se/day for 14 months, 75.0 and 55.0% of the patients served as patients for selenium-therapy group in clinical examination and symptom, and 25.6% and 24.4% as control group. In the Se-therapy group, liver function, hepatic ultrasonotomography, electrocardiogram and electron microscope observation of erythrocyte reversed significantly than the control as 80%, 60%, 72.22%, 84.78% versus 46.15%, 30.7%, 0%, 44.83%, respectively. Arsenic concentration in blood, urine and hair of the Se-group decreased much more than that of the control group. [Full text online.

Quantitative relationship between arsenic exposure and AP-1 activity in mouse urinary bladder epithelium. Petia P. Simeonova, Shiyi Wang, Michael L. Kashon, Choudari Kommineni, Eric Crecelius and Michael I. Luster. Toxicological Sciences 60, 279-284. [Abstract]

Recent advances in arsenic carcinogenesis: modes of action, animal model systems, and methylated arsenic metabolites.  Kitchin KT.  Toxicol Appl Pharmacol May 1;172(3):249-61. [Abstract] "...Recent advances in arsenic metabolism have suggested that methylation of inorganic arsenic may be a toxification, rather than a detoxification, pathway and that trivalent methylated arsenic metabolites, particularly monomethylarsonous acid and dimethylarsinous acid, have a great deal of biological activity.... "

Removal of arsenic in drinking water by iron oxide-coated sand and ferrihydrite - batch studies. O.S. Thirunavukkarasu, T. Viraraghavan, and K. S. Subramanian, Water Quality Research Journal of Canada, 36(1): 55-70. [Abstract]

Scenario of arsenic contamination in groundwater of Nepal. Nirmal Tandukar.  [776kb MS-Word file in a self-extracting zipfile]

Skin cancer risk in relation to toenail arsenic concentrations in a US population-based case-control study. Karagas MR, Stukel TA, Morris JS, Tosteson TD, Weiss JE, Spencer SK, Greenberg ER.  Am J Epidemiol 2001 Mar 15;153(6):559-65.  [Abstract]

Surface complexation modeling of arsenic in natural water and sediment systems. Gregory P. Miller, Ph.D. dissertation, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. [Available online: (1) Dissertation text and (2) additional info (data, models, etc.) related to the dissertation, by FTP to ftp://ftp.nmt.edu/pub/geochem/Appendix C/.  contents of this directory are in fact the contents of a CD-ROM that was included with the dissertation as Appendix C; consisting 320Mb of information.]  Partial abstract: "Sorption to solids controls arsenic mobility in most natural water. Hydrous metal oxides are the dominant sorbing solids in many natural systems. Surface complexation theory will describe water-rock partitioning of arsenic in the laboratory with pure mineral phases; however, published application to arsenic in natural systems is scant. I compare the concentrations of arsenic sorbed to sediments from a geothermally influenced stream in Mexico (100-1200 μg/l, 6-20 mg/kg As), and two contaminated sites in Florida (10-450 μg/l, 10-44 mg/kg As), to the sediment concentration predicted by a surface complexation model... "

A sustainable community-based arsenic mitigation pilot project in Bangladesh.  Richard Anstiss, Mushfique Ahmed, Shariful Islam, Abdul Wakib Khan, Malini Arewgoda. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 11(3) September 1, 2001, 267-274.  Abstract: A sustainable community-based arsenic mitigation pilot project has been successfully operating for 22 months in the Chapainawabganj arsenic hot spot (Bangladesh) where safe treated drinking and cooking water derived from tubewells is being supplied below the Bangladesh maximum permissible limit (0.05 ppm total arsenic). There has been close community involvement in all stages and the arsenic removal mechanism used adapted from the simple process of adsorption by natural ferric oxyhydroxide. Supplemented ferric oxyhydroxide produces daily de-contaminated water batches until replaced at the end of the cycle. A regional renewal/recycling centre supplies new, and safely stores used, ferric oxyhydroxide. Recycling is beginning where adsorbed arsenic can be separated prior to ferric oxyhydroxide reuse. The mechanism is flexible regarding water volumes, cycle lengths, pre and post-treatment arsenic concentrations, tubewell chemistries and is cost-effective. Pilot project parameters were set at 60 l per day ( < 0.05 ppm total arsenic) and 16 day cycles per tank for each of the four selected families with pretreatment concentrations up to 1.1 ppm. A maximum of ~ 24 g of arsenic is produced from the ~ 900 g (dry) of ferric oxyhydroxide used per tank per year. Anecdotal evidence possibly suggests positive health effects within a few months and villagers report an improved water taste. The project should contribute to coping with such arsenicosis crises and expansion is planned.  [At Taylor & Francis.]

Teratogen update - inorganic arsenic. Desesso, John M.  Teratology 63, 170-173.  Abstract: Background - Inorganic arsenic has been used by many laboratories to study the pathogenesis of exencephaly in rodents. These studies, which used predominantly injection exposures, coupled with the paucity of epidemiology data, resulted in the erroneous inference that inorganic arsenic should be considered a human teratogen.  Methods - This study assembles and assesses literature analyses of older human and animal investigations together with the results of new experimental studies. These recent studies were performed according to modern regulatory guidelines, and relevant exposure routes (inhalation and ingestion) were used to evaluate the potential risk of developmental effects in humans.  Results - The existing epidemiological data are inadequate to support risk assessment because of the failure to confirm or measure arsenic exposure during early gestation and the deficiencies in accounting for potential confounding factors. The animal data revealed that inorganic arsenic caused malformations in offspring only when it was injected into the veins or peritoneal cavity of pregnant animals during early gestation. Exposure via inhalation or oral ingestion, even at concentrations that were nearly fatal to pregnant females, caused no arsenic-related malformations. Conclusions: Inorganic arsenic poses virtually no danger to developing offspring when maternal exposure occurs by relevant routes (oral and inhalation) at concentrations that are likely to be experienced in the environment or in the workplace.  [Available online.]

Towards an assessment of the socioeconomic impact of arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh, Geneva, WHO. WHO/SDE/WSH/00.4.  [Online report]

Treatment of arsenic in Bangladesh well water using a household co-precipitation and filtration system. Xiaoguang Meng, George P. Korfiatis, Christos Christodoulatos and Sunbaek Bang. Water Research 2001, 35(12) 2805-2810.  Abstract: Laboratory and field tests were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a household filtration process and investigate the effects of phosphate and silicate on the removal of arsenic from Bangladesh groundwater by ferric hydroxides. Fe/As ratios of greater than 40 (mg/mg) were required to reduce arsenic to less than 50 ug/L in Bangladesh well water due to the presence of elevated phosphate and silicate concentrations. The household filtration process included co-precipitation of arsenic by adding a packet (approximately 2 g) of ferric and hypochlorite salts to 20 L of well water and subsequent filtration of the water through a bucket sand filter. A field demonstration study was performed to test the treatment system in seven households in Bangladesh in March and April 2000. Experimental results obtained from the participating families proved that the household treatment process removed arsenic from approximately 300 ug/L in the well water to less than 50 ug/L. The participating families liked this simple and affordable process and used it to prepare clean water for drinking and cooking. A larger scale field test is currently underway.  [At ScienceDirect.]

United Nations Synthesis Report on Arsenic in Drinking Water. UN.  [Online report]

Urinary transforming growth factor-alpha in individuals exposed to arsenic in drinking water in Bangladesh. Tamara Do, Angela Gambelunghe, Habibul Ahsan, Joseph Graziano, Mary Perrin, Vesna Slavkovich, Faruque Parvez, Abul Hasnat Milton, Paul Brandt-Rauf. Biomarkers, 6(2), /March 1, 2001. 267 - 274.  Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that the development of skin lesions from arsenic exposure may be mediated by increases in the expression of various growth factors, including transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFf). To investigate this association in humans, levels of total urinary arsenic and urinary TGFf were determined in 41 individuals with and without arsenic-associated skin lesions from Bangladesh who have chronic exposure to arsenic in their drinking water. After adjusting for age and sex, total urinary arsenic was found to be correlated with urinary TGFf (R 2 = 0.37; p < 0.0001), particularly in those individuals with arsenic-associated skin lesions (R 2 = 0.70; p < 0.0001). Stratification of the cohort into quartiles based on urinary TGFf levels demonstrated a trend of increasing odds ratios for the presence of arsenic-associated skin lesions with increasing urinary TGFf, although this was not significant (p = 0.15). These results suggest that urinary TGFf may be a useful biomarker for the epidermal effects of arsenic exposure.  [At Taylor & Francis.]

The World Bank Arsenic Mitigation Program in Bangladesh. Carter Brandon, Lead Environmental Economist, World Bank. Paper presented at "Arsenic in Drinking Water" international conference at Columbia University 26-27 Nov 2001.  [Conference paper online.]


2000

Appraisal of a simple arsenic removal method for groundwater of Bangladesh. Khan, A.H.; Rasul, S.B.; Munir, A.K.M.; Habibuddowla, M.; Alauddin, M.; Newaz, S.S.; Hussam, A. J. Environ. Sci. Health, Part A: Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering. Vol. 35, Issue 7 (August), 1021-1041. "Abstract: A simple three-pitcher filtration assembly made entirely from readily available local materials was tested for its efficacy in removing arsenic from the groundwater of Bangladesh. About 240 L of arsenic contaminated groundwater and groundwater spiked with high concentrations of both As(III) and As(V) were filtered. Metals present before and after filtration were identified."

Application of low-pressure nanofiltration coupled with a bicycle pump for the treatment of arsenic-contaminated groundwater. J.I. Oh, K. Yamamoto, H. Kitawaki, S. Nakao, T. Sugawara, M.M. Rahman, M.H. Rahman. Desalination 132, 307-314. Abstract: "A nanofiltration (NF) membrane process coupled with a bicycle pumping system was examined by using arsenic-contaminated tube well water in a rural area of Bangladesh. It was operated under the conditions of low recovery and low operational pressure. It was proposed using both permeate and concentrate of NF membranes for drinking water and another purpose. Rejection characteristics of arsenic compounds such as arsenite [As(III)} and arsenate [As(V)] were also investigated. Arsenite, a neutral solute at pH 8, showed lower rejection than arsenate, which existed in ionized forms at pH 8. In this sense the pre-oxidation of arsenite to arsenate was necessary to obtain safer drinking water using the NF process. Furthermore, the reverse osmosis (RO) process could be operated under the conditions of high operational pressure at 4MPa by using a bicycle pedal pump. Rejection of arsenite and arsenate with the RO membrane was over 95%. However, treatment of concentrate with a high concentration of arsenic might be necessary for the application of the RO process where recovery was obtained at 66%. A high recovery of 66% was delivered at three times a higher concentration of arsenic in concentrate than feed water. Consequently, a low-pressure NF process with the pre-oxidation of arsenite to arsenate or the RO process coupled with a bicycle pumping system could be applied to the treatment of arsenic-contaminated groundwater in areas where electricity supply is not efficient or feasible."

Arsenic and other toxic elemental contamination of groundwater, surface water and soil in Bangladesh and their possible effects on human health. Islam, Md. R., Salminen, R. and Lahermo, P., 2000. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 22: 33 - 53).

Arsenic in groundwater and health problems in Bangladesh.  Md. Masud Karim.  Wat. Res. 34(1), 304-310.  [Full paper available online]

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. [Full text available online.]

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

Arsenic-induced skin lesions among Atacameno people in Northern Chile despite good nutrition and centuries of exposure. Smith A.H.; Arroyo A.P.; Guha Mazumder D.N.; Kosnett M.J.; Hernandez A.L.; Beeris M.; Smith M.M.; Moore L.E. Environmental Health Perspectives, 108(7), 617-620. "Abstract: It has been suggested that the indigenous Atacameno people in Northern Chile might be protected from the health effects of arsenic in drinking water because of many centuries of exposure. Here we report on the first intensive investigation of arsenic-induced skin lesions in this population. We selected 11 families (44 participants) from the village of Chiu Chiu, which is supplied with water containing between 750 and 800 g/L inorganic arsenic. For comparison, 8 families (31 participants) were also selected from a village where the water contains approximately 10 g/L inorganic arsenic. After being transported to the nearest city for blind assessment, participants were examined by four physicians with experience in studying arsenic-induced lesions. Four of the six men from the exposed village, who had been drinking the contaminated water for more than 20 years, were diagnosed with skin lesions due to arsenic, but none of the women had definite lesions. A 13-year-old girl had definite skin pigmentation changes due to arsenic, and a 19-year-old boy had both pigmentation changes and keratoses on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet. Family interviews identified a wide range of fruits and vegetables consumed daily by the affected participants, as well as the weekly intake of red meat and chicken. However, the prevalence of skin lesions among men and children in the small population studied was similar to that reported with corresponding arsenic drinking water concentrations in both Taiwan and West Bengal, India - populations in which extensive malnutrition has been thought to increase susceptibility. "

Arsenic: occurrence, toxicity and speciation techniques.  C. K. Jain, and I. Ali, 2000. Water Research, 34(17),  4304-4312.  Abstract:  The occurrence of arsenic in natural water has received significant attention during recent years. Arsenic exists in the environment in a number of valency states. The valency state of arsenic plays an important role for its behavior and toxicity in the aqueous system. The toxicity and bioavailability of arsenic can only be determined if all its forms can be identified and quantified. Therefore, the aim of this article is to provide a general description of the occurrence of arsenic in the environment, its toxicity, health hazards, and measurement techniques for speciation analysis. Different techniques used for speciation of arsenic, viz., spectrometric, chromatographic, electrochemical, etc. have been discussed. [Abstract online, full text available to subscribers/purchasers.]

Arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh: a geographic analysis. Paul, Bimal Kanti; De, Sujata. J. American Wat. Res. Assoc. 36(4) (August) 799-809. "Abstract: Drinking of arsenic-contaminated tubewell water has become a serious health threat in Bangladesh. Arsenic contaminated tubewells are believed to be responsible for poisoning nearly two-thirds of this country's population. If proper actions are not taken immediately, many people in Bangladesh will die from arsenic poisoning in just a few years. Causes and consequences of arsenic poisoning, the extent of area affected by it, and local knowledge and beliefs about the arsenic problem - including solutions and international responses to the problem - are analyzed. Although no one knows precisely how the arsenic is released into the ground water, several contradictory theories exist to account for its release. Initial symptoms of the poisoning consist of a dryness and throat constriction, difficulty in swallowing, and acute epigastric pain. Long-term exposure leads to skin, lung, or bladder cancer. Both government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Bangladesh foreign governments, and international agencies are now involved in mitigating the effects of the arsenic poisoning, as well as developing cost-effective remedial measures that are affordable by the rural people. "

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

Arsenic: answers to questions commonly asked by drinking water professionals. Bryan Black and T. David Chinn. AWWARF Project #2630, Order #90792. [Full description online.]

Arsenic groundwater contamination and sufferings of people in West Bengal-India and Bangladesh. U. K. Chowdhury, B. K. Biswas, T. Roy Chowdhury, B. K. Mandal, G. Samanta, G. K. Basu, C.R. Chanda, D. Lodh, K. C. Saha, D. Chakraborti S. C. Mukherjee, S. Roy, S. Kabir, Quamruzzaman. In: Trace Elements in Man and Animal, Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York, (in press).

Confounding variables in the environmental toxicology of arsenic.  T. Gebel.  Toxicology 144, 155-162.  "Abstract:  Arsenic is one of the most important global environmental toxins.  For example, in regions of West Bengal and Inner Mongolia, more than 100,000 persons are chronically exposed to well water often strongly contaminated with As. Unfortunately, a toxicologically safe risk assessment and standard setting, especially for long-term and low-dose exposures to arsenic, is still not possible.  One reason is that the key mechanism of arsenics tumorgenicity still is not elucidated.  Experimental data indicate that either DNA repair inhibition or DNA methylation status alteration may be causal explanations.  Moreover, when comparing epidemiological data, it cannot be ruled out that the susceptibility to arsenic's carcinogenicity may be different between Mexican and Taiwanese people.  Some other studies indicate that some Andean populations do not develop skin cancer after long-term exposure to As.  It is not known yet how this resistance could be mediated.  Finally, the situation is even more complicated when taking into consideration that there are several compounds suspected to modulate the chronic environmental toxicity of arsenic, variables that may either enhance or suppress the in vivo genotoxicity and carcenogenicity of the metalloid.  Among them are nutritional factors like selenium and zinc, as well as drinking water contaminants like antimony.  Further, yet unidentified factors influencing the body burden and/or the excretion of arsenic are possibly prevailing:  preliminary data from own human biomonitoring studies showed a peaking of As in urine samples of unexposed people  which was not caused by elevated exposure to As through seafood consumption.  The relevance of these putative confounding variables cannot finally be evaluated yet.  Further experimental as well as epidemiological studies are needed to answer these questions.  This would help to conduct an epidemiologically improved risk assessment, especially for low-dose and long-term exposures to arsenic."  

Contamination of drinking-water by arsenic in Bangladesh: A public health emergency.   Smith A.H.; Lingas E.O.; Rahman M. Bulletin of the World Health Organization , 78(9), 1093-1103. [Full text online, 863kb Acrobat file.]  Abstract: "The contamination of groundwater by arsenic in Bangladesh is the largest poisoning of a population in history, with millions of people exposed. This paper describes the history of the discovery of arsenic in drinking-water in Bangladesh and recommends intervention strategies. Tube-wells were installed to provide 'pure water' to prevent morbidity and mortality from gastrointestinal disease. The water from the millions of tube-wells that were installed was not tested for arsenic contamination. Studies in other countries where the population has had long-term exposure to arsenic in groundwater indicate that 1 in 10 people who drink water containing 500 g of arsenic per litre may ultimately die from cancers caused by arsenic, including lung, bladder and skin cancers. The rapid allocation of funding and prompt expansion of current interventions to address this contamination should be facilitated. The fundamental intervention is the identification and provision of arsenic-free drinking water. Arsenic is rapidly excreted in urine, and for early or mild cases, no specific treatment is required. Community education and participation are essential to ensure that interventions are successful; these should be coupled with follow-up monitoring to confirm that exposure has ended. Taken together with the discovery of arsenic in groundwater in other countries, the experience in Bangladesh shows that groundwater sources throughout the world that are used for drinking-water should be tested for arsenic."

Detecting bioavailable toxic metals and metalloids from natural water samples using luminescent sensor bacteria. S.M. Tauriainen, M.P.J. Virta and M.T. Karp. Water Research, 34(10) 1 July 2000. [Abstract, access restricted to subscribers]

Determination of monomethylarsonous acid, a key arsenic methylation intermediate, in human urine. Le XC, Ma M, Cullen WR, Aposhian HV, Lu X, Zheng B. Environ Health Perspect 2000 Nov;108(11):1015-8. [Abstract].

Does arsenic exposure increase the risk for circulatory disease? I Hertz-Picciotto, HM Arrighi and SW Hu. Am J Epidemiol 151(2):174-181. [Abstract

Draft Development Strategy, National Water Management PlanWater Resources Planning Organization, Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. Bangladesh.  National Water Management Plan - Draft Development Strategy.  Halcrow-Mott MacDonald.  Vols. 1-11.  August.  Dhaka.  [Arsenic sections from all eleven volumes are available online in .htm format.] [Whole report (apparently) now available online at WARPO website.]

Effect of sex on arsenic, cadmium, lead, copper and zinc accumulation in calves. Miranda M, M Lopez Alonso, C Castillo, J Hernandez, and JL Benedito.  Veterinary & Human Toxicology, 42(5), October. [Abstract"This study evaluated the effect of sex on the accumulation of arsenic, cadmium, lead, copper and zinc in calves. Samples of liver, kidney, muscle and blood of 312 animals (127 females and 185 males) were analysed after acid digestion using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). Arsenic was determined by AAS interfaced with continuous flow hydride generation, cadmium and lead by graphite furnace, and copper and zinc by flame. Females accumulated more cadmium, copper and zinc in  kidneys than did males. The zinc blood levels in females were higher than in males, whereas copper in liver was higher in males than in females. In the case of arsenic and lead, no significant statistical differences between males and females were found."

Evaluation of arsine generation in arsenic field kit. Hussam, A.; Alauddin, M.; Khan, A.H.; Rasul, S.B.; Munir, A.K.M. Environ. Sci. Technol. 33(20), 3686-3688. "Abstract: The recent outbreak of arsenic in groundwater of Bangladesh has prompted the widespread use of arsenic field kits. The kit involves the generation of arsine (AsH3) from inorganic arsenic species by reduction with Zn and HCl. The arsine then reacts with a test strip containing HgBr2 to produce a color that is compared with a color scale of quantitation. It is known that arsine gas is one of the most toxic substances known to man. The objective of this work is to measure the concentration of ambient arsine produced during the test and suggest a safe handling procedure. The analytical method is based on integrated AsH3 measurement by a single-point arsine monitor. The method can be used to measure 4-50 ppb arsenic in water with 10% in precision and accuracy. Experiments show that a typical test kit produces arsine with a 90% efficiency. The concentration of arsine produced even at low level can be more than 9 times above the 50 ppbv threshold limiting value (TLV). Actual kit experiments show that 50% of the arsine escapes the reaction cell during the test. We estimate that the maximum arsine concentration in the immediate vicinity of the kit can be more than 35 times TLV of arsine from a single experiment with 100 ppb total arsenic in solution. Particularly, field workers performing a large number of tests in highly affected areas are exposed to a much higher level of arsine. We suggest that the tests should be performed in well-ventilated places and that the worker should be provided with a gas mask to minimize arsine inhalation."

Groundwater arsenic calamity in West Bengal-India and Bangladesh. U.K Chowdhury, B.K. Biswas, G. Samanta, B. K. Mandal, T. Roy Chowdhury, R. K. Dhar, G. K. Basu, C. R. Chanda, K. C. Saha, S. Roy, S. Kabir and D. Chakraborti. In: Bioavailability and its potential role in risk assessment, John Wiley (in press).

Groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh and West Bengal-India. U.K Chowdhury, B. K. Biswas, T. Roy Chowdhury, G. Samanta, B.K. Mandal, G. K. Basu, C.R. Chanda, D. Lodh, K. C. Saha, S. C. Mukherjee, S.Roy, S. Kabir, Q. Quamruzzaman and D. Chakraborti. Environmental Health Perspective, 108: 393-397.  "Abstract Nine districts in West Bengal, India, and 42 districts in Bangladesh have arsenic levels in ground-water above the World Health Organization maximum permissible limit of 50 g/L. The area and population of the 42 districts in Bangladesh and the 9 districts in West Bengal are 92,106 km2 and 79.9 million and 38,865 km2 and 42.7 million, respectively. In our preliminary study, we have identified 985 arsenic-affected villages in 69 police stations/blocks of nine arsenic-affected districts in West Bengal. In Bangladesh, we have identified 492 affected villages in 141 police stations/blocks of 42 affected districts. To date, we have collected 10,991 water samples from 42 arsenic-affected districts in Bangladesh for analysis, 58,166 water samples from nine arsenic-affected districts in West Bengal. Of the water samples that we analyzed, 59 and 34%, respectively, contained arsenic levels above 50 g/L. Thousands of hair, nail, and urine samples from people living in arsenic-affected villages have been analyzed to date; Bangladesh and West Bengal, 93 and 77% samples, on an average, contained arsenic above the normal/toxic level. We surveyed 27 of 42 districts in Bangladesh for arsenic patients; we identified patients with arsenical skin lesions in 25 districts. In West Bengal, we identified patients with lesions in seven of nine districts. We examined people from the affected villages at random for arsenical dermatologic features (11,180 and 29,035 from Bangladesh and West Bengal, respectively); 24.47 and 15.02% of those examined, respectively, had skin lesions. After 10 years of study in West Bengal and 5 in Bangladesh, we feel that we have seen only the tip of iceberg." 

Groundwater studies of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh - reports, maps, data, images.  British Geological Survey (BGS).  [Available online.]

High performance liquid chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HPLC-ICP-MS) for speciation of arsenic compounds in urine. G. Samanta, U. K.Chowdhury, B.K. Mandal, N. Chandra Sekaran, H. Tokunaga, M. Ando and D. Chakraborti. Microchemical Journal, 65, 113-127.

Isotope hydrology of groundwater in Bangladesh: implications for characterization and mitigation of arsenic in groundwater. Aggarwal, P.K., A.R. Basu, R.J. Poreda, K.M. Kulkarni, K. Froelich, S.A. Tarafdar, M. Ali, N. Ahmed, A. Hussain, M. Rahman, S.R. Ahmed.  Unpublished report of IAEA-TC project BGD/8/016. [Full text, 1.5Mb Acrobat file From referring page:  "Exposure to arsenic-contaminated drinking water from shallow aquifers in Bangladesh has resulted in a major public health crisis of recent times. One of the mitigation options is to exploit deep aquifers as an alternative source of safe drinking water. An IAEA-led investigation within its Technical Cooperation framework shows that isotope techniques provide critical hydrogeological information on the sources and movement of groundwater in Bangladesh - information that is necessary for evaluating the causes of arsenic contamination and the long-term consequences of mitigation through use of deeper aquifers."

Lake and reservoir water quality affected by metals leaching from tropical soils, Bangladesh. Md. R. Islam; W. P. Lahermo; R. Salminen; S. Rojstaczer; V. Peuraniemi Environmental Geology 39(10), 1083-1089. "Abstract: The release of metals during weathering has been studied in order to assess its geochemical controls and possible effects on environmental health in Bangladesh. A total of 27 soil samples and 7 surface water samples were collected from four locations covering three major regions in the country. Results show that weathering effects are a strong function of climatic conditions. Surface waters are typically enriched in Al, Mg, Ca, Na, K, As, Ba, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. The solubility of metal ions, organometallic complexes, co-precipitation or co-existence with the colloidal clay fraction are the main processes that lead to metal enrichment in lake and reservoir water. Aluminium concentrations exceed World Health Organization (WHO) drinking-water standards in all samples, and in two regions, arsenic concentrations also significantly exceed WHO standards. The elevated levels of As indicate that arsenic contamination of water supplies in Bangladesh is not confined to groundwater." [Available online (password protected).]

Measurement of low levels of arsenic exposure: a comparison of water and toenail concentrations. Karagas MR, Tosteson TD, Blum J, Klaue B, Weiss JE, Stannard V, Spate V, Morris JS.  Am J Epidemiol Jul 1;152(1):84-90. [Abstract]

Mechanism of arsenic release to groundwater, Bangladesh and West Bengal. R. Nickson, J.M. McArthur, P. Ravenscroft, W.G. Burgess, and M. Ahmed, 2000.  Applied Geochemistry, 15( 4) 403-413. [Full paper available on the LAG website.]

Mobilization of arsenite by dissimilatory reduction of adsorbed arsenate. Zobrist, Juerg; Dowdle, Philip R.; Davis, James A.; Oremland, Ronald S.. Environ. Sci. Technol., 34(22), 4747-4753.

National Water Management Plan, Draft Development Strategy.  Bangladesh, August.  [Arsenic sections online.]

Recommendations for water supply in arsenic mitigation: a case study from Bangladesh. B. Hoque, AA Mahmood, M. Quaderuzzaman et al. Public Health, 114, 488-494

Risk of internal cancers from arsenic in drinking water. Knashawn H. Morales, Louise Ryan, Tsung-Li Kuo, Meei-Maan Wu, and Chien-Jen Chen. Environ Health Perspect 108:655-661(2000).  Abstract: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is under a congressional mandate to revise its current standard for arsenic in drinking water. We present a risk assessment for cancers of the bladder, liver, and lung from exposure to arsenic in water, based on data from 42 villages in an arseniasis-endemic region of Taiwan. We calculate excess lifetime risk estimates for several variations of the generalized linear model and for the multistage-Weibull model. Risk estimates are sensitive to the model choice, to whether or not a comparison population is used to define the unexposed disease mortality rates, and to whether the comparison population is all of Taiwan or just the southwestern region. Some factors that may affect risk could not be evaluated quantitatively: the ecologic nature of the data, the nutritional status of the study population, and the dietary intake of arsenic. Despite all of these sources of uncertainty, however, our analysis suggests that the current standard of 50 g/L is associated with a substantial increased risk of cancer and is not sufficiently protective of public health.  [At EHP Online.]

Stratigraphic and geochemical controls on naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater, eastern Wisconsin, USA. M. E. Schreiber, J. A. Simo, P. G. Freiberg, Hydrogeology Journal. Vol. 8 Issue 2 pp. 161-176. [Abstract & full text available online.]

The use of alternative safe water options to mitigate the arsenic problem in Bangladesh: a community perspective. Md. Jakariya. M.Sc. Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, 31 August. [Full text available online.]