References Dated 2003 & 2004

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2003

Dipankar Chakraborti writes: "The Journal of Environmental Science and Health Volume 38, Issue 1, 2003 is a 'Special Issue On Arsenic: Environment And Health Aspects With Special Reference To Groundwater In South Asia.' Altogether there are 18 articles in the issue with a total of 305 pages."  [See this journal issue online - required free registration gets you limited access.]

Accumulation of arsenic in rice plant from arsenic contaminated irrigation water and effect on nutrient content. Md. Zahangir Alam and Md. Mujibur Rahman. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Antioxidants in detoxification of arsenic-induced oxidative injury in rabbits - preliminary results. Golam Hassan Rabbani, Shyamal Kumar Saha, Mastura Akhtar, Farzana Marni, Amal Krishna Mitra, Shamsir Ahmed, Mohammad Alauddin, Maya Bhattacharjee, Shamima Sultana, A. K. Azad Chowdhury. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 273 - 287. [Free abstract, purchase articleAbstract: To assess the oxidative injuries caused by arsenic toxicity in rabbits and evaluate the detoxifying effects of exogenous antioxidants, we administered arsenic trioxide (3-5 mg/kg/day) in rabbits through a feeding tube for seven days. These rabbits were then treated with a recipe of vitamins, zinc, selenium (VZS) or a plant polyphenol or a placebo for the next seven days. Blood samples were collected from ear vein for spectrophotometric assay of reduced glutathione (GSH), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and nitrite/nitrate (NOx; index of nitric oxide formation) before arsenic administration, seven days after arsenic administration, and seven days after antioxidant treatment. The total arsenic concentrations in hair and spot urine samples of rabbits before arsenic administration were 0.6 0.21 g/g and 34.0 5.9 g/L, respectively. Administration of arsenic trioxide significantly increased arsenic concentrations in hair and in urine to 2.8 0.40 g/g (p<0.001) and 7372 1392.0 g/L (p<0.001), respectively. Arsenic administration to rabbits significantly reduced GSH concentration (post-arsenic,17.5 0.81 mg/dL vs. pre-arsenic, 32.0 0.76 mg/dL, p<0.001), increased TBARS concentration (post-arsenic, 8 1.1 M vs. pre-arsenic, 5 0.7 M, p<0.05), and NOx concentration (post-arsenic, 465 38.5 M vs. pre-arsenic, 320 24.7 M, p<0.001) as compared to the pre- arsenic levels. There was a negative correlation between TBARS and GSH concentrations (r = -0.464, p<0.01) and between NOx and GSH concentrations (r = - 0.381, p<0.05) of intoxicated rabbits. The recovery of the depleted GSH was significantly greater in the polyphenols (77.0 12.0%) or VZS (67.0 17.0%) treatment groups compared with the placebo group (36.0 7.0%). The decrease in NOx level of arsenic-treated rabbits was significantly greater in polyphenols treatment group than the placebo group (60.0 9.0% vs. 17.0 6.0%, p<0.001). These results indicate that arsenic induces toxicity in rabbits associated with an increase in lipid peroxidation. Arsenic toxicity increases nitric oxide production in the body. Exogenous antioxidants such as polyphenols and recipe of vitamins, zinc, and selenium are useful for arsenic detoxification.

Arsenic and heavy metal contamination of vegetables grown in Samta village, Bangladesh.  Alam MG, Snow ET, Tanaka A.  Sci Total Environ 2003 Jun 1;308(1-3):83-96.  Abstract:  Drinking of arsenic (As) contaminated well water has become a serious threat to the health of many millions in Bangladesh. However, the implications of contamination of agricultural soils from long-term irrigation with As-contaminated groundwater for phyto-accumulation in food crops, and thence dietary exposure to As, and other metals, has not been assessed previously in Bangladesh. Various vegetables were sampled in Samta village in the Jessore district of Bangladesh, and screened for As, Cd, Pb, Cu and Zn by inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). These local food products are the basis of human nutrition in this region and of great relevance to human health. The results revealed that the individual vegetables containing the highest mean As concentrations (&mgr;gg(-1)) are snake gourd (0.489), ghotkol (0.446), taro (0.440), green papaya (0.389), elephant foot (0.338) and Bottle ground leaf (0.306), respectively. The As concentration in fleshy vegetable material is low. In general, the data show the potential for some vegetables to accumulate heavy metals with concentrations of Pb greater than Cd. Some vegetables such as bottle ground leaf, ghotkol, taro, eddoe and elephant foot had much higher concentrations of Pb. Other leafy and root vegetables, contained higher concentrations of Zn and Cu. Bioconcentration factors (BCF) values, based on dry weight, were below 1 for all metals. In most cases, BCF values decreased with increasing metal concentrations in the soil. From the heavily As-contaminated village in Samta, BCF values for As in ladies finger, potato, ash gourd, brinjal, green papaya, ghotkol and snake gourd were 0.001, 0.006, 0.006, 0.014, 0.030, 0.034 and 0.038, respectively. Considering the average daily intake of fresh vegetables per person per day is only 130 g, all the vegetables grown at Samta had Pb concentrations that would be a health hazard for human consumption. Although the total As in the vegetables was less than the recommended maximum intake of As, it still provides a significant additional source of As in the diet.  [At PubMed.]

Arsenic concentration of rice in Bangladesh. Hiromi Hironaka and Sk. Akhtar Ahmad. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Arsenic contamination of Bangladesh paddy field soils: implications for rice contribution to arsenic consumption.  Meharg AA, Rahman MM.  Environ Sci Technol 2003 Jan 15;37(2):229-34.  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 microg g(-1) dry weight in the most affected zone, compared to levels below l0 microg 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 microg g(-1).  [At PubMed.]

Arsenic contamination of soil and water and related biohazards in Bangladesh. H. K. Das, D. A. Chowdhury, S. Rahman and Obaidullah, M. U. Miah, P. Sengupta and F. Islam. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Arsenic enrichment in estuarine sediments - impact of iron and manganese mining. Maheswari Nair, T. Joseph, K.K. Balachandran, K.K.C.Nair and J. S. Paimpillil. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Arsenic groundwater contamination and sufferings of people in North 24-Parganas, one of the nine arsenic affected districts of West Bengal, India. Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman, Badal Kumar Mandal, Tarit Roy Chowdhury, Mrinal Kumar Sengupta, Uttam Kumar Chowdhury, Dilip Lodh, Chitta Ranjan Chanda, Gautam Kumar Basu, Subhash Chandra Mukherjee, Kshitish Chandra Saha, Dipankar Chakraborti. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 25 - 59. [Free abstract & purchase article].  Abstract: To understand the magnitude of the arsenic calamity in West Bengal, a detailed study spanning 7 years was made in North 24-Parganas, one of the nine arsenic affected districts. Area and population of North 24-Parganas district are 4093.82 sq. km and 7.3 million, respectively. Fourty eight thousand and thirty water samples were analyzed from hand tubewells of North 24-Parganas in use for drinking, cooking and 29.2% of the tubewells were found to have arsenic above 50 g/L, the maximum permissible limit of World Health Organization (WHO) and 52.8% have arsenic above 10 g/L, WHO recommended value of arsenic in drinking water. Out of the 22 blocks of North 24-Parganas, in 20 blocks arsenic has been found above the maximum permissible limit and so far in 16 blocks people have been identified as suffering from arsenical skin lesions. From the generated data, it is estimated that about 2.0 million and 1.0 million people are drinking arsenic contaminated water above 10 g/L and 50 g/L level, respectively in North 24- Parganas alone. So far, in our preliminary study 33,000 people have been examined at random from arsenic affected villages in North 24-Parganas and 2274 people have been registered with arsenical skin lesions. Extrapolation of the available data indicates about 0.1 million people may be suffering from arsenical skin lesions from North 24-Parganas alone. A sum of 21,000 hair, nail, and urine samples analyses from arsenic affected villages show 56%, 80%, and 87% people have arsenic in biological specimen more than normal/toxic (hair) level, respectively. Thus, many may be subclinically affected. Due to use of arsenic contaminated groundwater for agricultural irrigation, rice and vegetable are getting arsenic contaminated. Hence there is an additional arsenic burden from food chain. People from arsenic affected villages are also suffering from arsenical neuropathy. A followup study indicates that many of the victims suffering from severe arsenical skin lesions for several years are now suffering from cancer or have already died of cancer.

Arsenic groundwater contamination in Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar, India - a future danger? Chakraborti, Dipankar, Subhash C. Mukherjee, Shyamapada Pati, Mrinal K. Sengupta, Mohammad M. Rahman, Uttam K. Chowdhury, Dilip Lodh, Chitta R. Chanda, Anil K. Chakraborti, and Gautam K. Basu. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003, in press.  Abstract: The pandemic of arsenic poisoning due to contaminated groundwater in West Bengal, India and all of Bangladesh has been thought limited to the Ganges Delta (the Lower Ganga Plain) despite early survey reports of arsenic contamination in groundwater in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and its surroundings in the northwestern Upper Ganga Plain and recent findings in the Terai area of Nepal. Anecdotal reports of arsenical skin lesions in villagers led us to evaluate arsenic exposure and sequelae in the Semria Ojha Patti village in the Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar, where tube wells replaced dug wells about 20 years ago. Analyses of the arsenic content of 206 tube wells (95% of the total) showed 56.8% to exceed arsenic concentrations of 50 g/L with 19.9% >300 g/L, the concentration predicting overt arsenical skin lesions. On medical examination of a self-selected sample of 550 (390 adults; 160 children), 13% of the adults and 6.3% of the children had typical skin lesions, an unusually high involvement for children, except in extreme exposures combined with malnutrition. The urine, hair, and nail concentrations of arsenic correlated significantly (r=0.72-0.77) with drinking water arsenic concentrations up to 1654 g/L. On neurological examination, arsenic-typical neuropathy was diagnosed in 63% of the adults, a prevalence previously seen only in severe, subacute exposures. We also observed an apparent increase in fetal loss and premature delivery in the women with the highest drinking water arsenic. The possibility of contaminated groundwater at other sites in the Middle and Upper Ganga plain merits investigation. [Abstract online.

Arsenic in Australian environment - an overview. E. Smith, J. Smith, L. Smith, T. Biswas, R. Correll, R. Naidu. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 223 - 239. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: The most common source of elevated As concentrations in the Australian environment are attributable to anthropogenic activities. Mining activities have contributed to the contamination of soil and water primarily in Western Australia and Victoria. However, other anthropogenic activities such as agriculture, forestry and industry have also contaminated soil and water at a localized scale. Currently there are over 1000 As contaminated sites previously used as cattle dips for eradicating cattle ticks. Although As contamination of the environment may be severe enough to limit plant growth there appears to be few other reports identifying the impacts of the contaminants on other organisms, such as fish, mammals and humans. In Australia the impacts of metal/metalloid contamination of the environment are often unnoticed or ignored. However, the impacts of elements such as As may pass unnoticed by the public or regulators due to the perception of the minimal impact a contaminant has on the environment. This paper presents an overview of As in the Australian environment including the sources of As contamination, soil, water and plant As content, and the pathways of exposure.

Arsenic in drinking water and skin lesions: dose-response data from West Bengal, India.  Haque R, Mazumder DN, Samanta S, Ghosh N, Kalman D, Smith MM, Mitra S, Santra A, Lahiri S, Das S, De BK, Smith AH.  Epidemiology 2003 Mar;14(2):174-82.  Abstract:  BACKGROUND: Over 6 million people live in areas of West Bengal, India, where groundwater sources are contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic. The key objective of this nested case-control study was to characterize the dose-response relation between low arsenic concentrations in drinking water and arsenic-induced skin keratoses and hyperpigmentation. METHODS: We selected cases (persons with arsenic-induced skin lesions) and age- and sex-matched controls from participants in a 1995-1996 cross-sectional survey in West Bengal. We used a detailed assessment of arsenic exposure that covered at least 20 years. Participants were reexamined between 1998 and 2000. Consensus agreement by four physicians reviewing the skin lesion photographs confirmed the diagnosis in 87% of cases clinically diagnosed in the field. RESULTS: The average peak arsenic concentration in drinking water was 325 microg/liter for cases and 180 microg/liter for controls. The average latency for skin lesions was 23 years from first exposure. We found strong dose-response gradients with both peak and average arsenic water concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: The lowest peak arsenic ingested by a confirmed case was 115 microg/liter. Confirmation of case diagnosis and intensive longitudinal exposure assessment provide the basis for a detailed dose-response evaluation of arsenic-caused skin lesions. [At PubMed.]

Arsenic in plant-soil environment in Bangladesh. M. Ashraf Ali, A. B. M. Badruzzaman, M. A. Jalil, M. Delwar Hossain, M. Feroze Ahmed, Abdullah Al Masud, Md. Kamruzzaman and M. Azizur Rahman. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Arsenic-induced dysfunction in relaxation of blood vessels. Moo-Yeol Lee,Byung-In Jung, Seung-Min Chung, Ok-Nam Bae, Joo-Young Lee, Jung-Duck Park, Ji-Sun Yang, Hyomin Lee, and Jin-Ho Chung. Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements 111(4), April 2003.  Abstract: Several epidemiological studies have suggested that exposure to arsenic is strongly correlated with the development of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. To determine whether arsenic affects vasomotor tone in blood vessels, we investigated the effect of arsenic on vasorelaxation using isolated rat aortic rings in an organ-bath system. Treatment with arsenite inhibited acetylcholine-induced relaxation of the aortic rings in a concentration-dependent manner, whereas several other arsenic species did not have any effect. Consistent with these findings, the levels of guanosine 3,5-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) in the aortic rings were significantly reduced by arsenite treatment. In cultured human aortic endothelial cells, treatment with arsenite resulted in a concentration-dependent inhibition of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). In addition, higher concentrations of arsenite decreased the relaxation induced by sodium nitroprusside (an NO donor) and 8-Br-cGMP (a cGMP analog) in aortic rings without endothelium. These in vitro results indicate that arsenite is capable of suppressing relaxation in blood vessels by inhibiting eNOS activity in endothelial cells and by impairing the relaxation machinery in smooth muscle cells. In vivo studies revealed that the reduction of blood pressure by acetylcholine infusion was significantly suppressed after arsenite was administered intravenously to rats. These data suggest that an impairment of vasomotor tone due to arsenite exposure may be a contributing factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.  [At EHP Online.]

Arsenic occurrence in drinking water of I.R. of Iran - the case of Kurdistan province. M. Mosaferi, M. Yunesian, A. Mesdaghinia, A. Nadim, S. Nasseri and A. H. Mahvi.  In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Arsenic removal using a polymeric/inorganic hybrid sorbent.  DeMarco, M.J., SenGupta, A.K. and Greenleaf, J.E.  Water Research 37, 164-176.

Biogenic arsenopyrite in holocene peat sediment, India.  Anjum Farooqui, and Usha Bajpai.  Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 55(2), June 2003, 157-161.  Abstract:  The plant organic matter in the peat layer deposited around 6650110 and 480080 years BP, during the transgressive and regressive phases of sea level changes, respectively in the dried part (playa) of the present Pulicat lagoon in Palar Basin (southeast coast of India) was studied to elucidate the biogenic pyrite generation and associated trace elements. The scanning electron microscopic (SEM) observations show strongly curved unique C-shaped bacteria of uniform coccoidal shape and size (1 m) freely scattered on the plant epidermal microfragments. These form spheroidal microcolonies 815 m in diameter attached to the epidermis in a linear fashion or haphazardly enclosed in the translucent sheath as observed in surface view. These colonies are dense with a number of toxic trace elements as analyzed under an SEM-EDX spectrometer indicating its affinity toward metal binding. On maturity the sheath ruptures disseminating tetrad form of bacteria along with some C-shaped bacteria and few rhombohedral crystals of framboidal pyrite. The pyrite crystals intact in spheroidal shape in cavities on the epidermal fragments indicate its biogenic precipitation mediated by the bacteria. The pyrite crystals are rich in sulfur, iron, and traces of arsenic when analyzed by the SEM-EDX spectrometer. It is suggested that cubic and pyritohedran forms of crystals are perhaps arsenopyrite precipitated biogenically in saturated coastal wetland ecosystem in the past mediated by tetrad strain of the observed coccoid bacteria. Thus, the strata-bound peat layer could be the potent residing place for arsenopyrite or other toxic trace elements that may contaminate the groundwater aquifer.  [At ScienceDirect.]

Can water storage habits influence the cancer risk of drinking arsenic contaminated water? Anitha Kumari Sharma and Jens Christian Tjell. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Chemical fate of arsenic and other metals in groundwater of Bangladesh - experimental measurement and chemical equilibrium model. A. Hussam, M. Habibuddowla, M. Alauddin, Z. A. Hossain, A. K. M. Munir, A. H. Khan. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 71 - 86. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: The presence of toxic level of inorganic arsenic in groundwater used for drinking in Bangladesh and neighboring India is unfolding as one of the worst natural disaster in the region. The purpose of this work is to ascertain the chemical fate of arsenic and other metals in groundwater of Bangladesh. A combination of techniques was used to measure 24 metals, 6 anions, Eh, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and temperature to understand the distribution of components which were then used in computational chemical equilibrium model, MINEQL+, for detailed speciation. It was found that the fate of arsenic and its speciation were inextricably linked to the formation of hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) and its kinetic. The HFO induced natural attenuation removes 50-75% of total arsenic in first 24 h through a first order kinetics. Adsorption on HFO is the predominant mode of removal of arsenic, iron, manganese, and most trace metals. The equilibrium model points to the presence of excess active sites for the removal of arsenic. MINEQL+ shows that significantly higher concentration of HFO forming iron is required to remove arsenic below maximum contamination level (MCL) of 50 g/L than predicted by stoichiometry. The practical implication of this work is the prediction of water quality based on models.

Chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges in individuals exposed to arsenic through drinking water in West Bengal, India.  Mahata J, Basu A, Ghoshal S, Sarkar JN, Roy AK, Poddar G, Nandy AK, Banerjee A, Ray K, Natarajan AT, Nilsson R, Giri AK.  Mutat Res 2003 Jan 10;534(1-2):133-43.  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 km(2) 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 in West Bengal. Study participants included 59 individuals residing in this district where the mean level (+/-S.E.) of arsenic in drinking water (microg/l) was 211.70+/-15.28. 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 of water (microg/l) was 6.35+/-0.45. Exposure was assessed by standardized questionnaires and by detecting the levels of arsenic in drinking water, nails, hair and urine samples. In the exposed group the mean arsenic concentrations in nails (microg/g), hair (microg/g) and urine (microg/l) samples were 9.04+/-0.78, 5.63+/-0.38 and 140.52+/-8.82, respectively, which were significantly high (P<0.01) compared to the corresponding control values of 0.44+/-0.03, 0.30+/-0.02 and 5.91+/-0.49, 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. [At ScienceDirect.]

Chronic arsenic toxicity: clinical features, epidemiology, and treatment: experience in West Bengal. D. N. Guha Mazumder. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A- Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 141 - 163. [Free abstract & article purchase]Abstract: Chronic arsenic toxicity due to drinking arsenic- contaminated water has been one of the worst environmental health hazards affecting eight districts of West Bengal since the early eighties. Detailed clinical examination and investigation of 248 such patients revealed protean clinical manifestations of such toxicity. Over and above hyperpigmentation and keratosis, weakness, anaemia, burning sensation of eyes, solid swelling of legs, liver fibrosis, chronic lung disease, gangrene of toes, neuropathy, and skin cancer are some of the other manifestations. A cross-sectional survey involving 7683 participants of all ages was conducted in an arsenic-affected region between 04 1995 and 03 1996. Out of a population of 7683 surveyed, 3467 and 4216 people consumed water containing As below and above 0.05 mg/L, respectively. Except pain abdomen the prevalence of all other clinical manifestations tested (e.g., pigmentation, keratosis, Hepatomegaly, weakness, nausea, lung disease and neuropathy) were found to be significantly higher in As exposed people (water As>0.05 mg/L) compared to control population (water As level<0.05 mg/L). The prevalence of pigmentation and keratosis, hepatomegaly, chronic respiratory disease and weakness rose significantly with increasing arsenic concentrations in drinking water. The respiratory effects were most pronounced in individuals with high arsenic water concentrations who also had skin lesion. Therapy with chelating agent DMSA was not found to be superior to placebo effect. However, therapy with DMPS caused significant improvement of clinical condition of chronic arsenicosis patients as evidenced by significant reduction of total clinical scores from 8.90 2.84 to 3.27 1.73; p<0.0001. Efficacy of specific chelation therapy for patients suffering from chronic As toxicity has further need to be fully substantiated. However, supportive treatment could help in reducing many symptoms of the patients. Treatment in hospital with good nutritious diet has been found to reduce symptom score in a subset of placebo treated patients in West Bengal during the course of DMSA and DMPS trial. People should be advised to stop drinking As contaminated water or exposure to As from any other source. The various clinical manifestations should be treated symptomatically.

Comment on "Arsenic Mobility and Groundwater Extraction in Bangladesh" (I). Pradeep K. Aggarwal, Asish R. Basu, and Kshitij M. Kulkarni.  Science, 300(5619) 25 Apr 2003, p. 584.  [Full text.]

Comment on "Arsenic Mobility and Groundwater Extraction in Bangladesh" (II).  Alexander van Geen, Yan Zheng, Martin Stute , and Kazi Matin Ahmed. Science 300(5619), 25 Apr 2003, p. 584.  [Full text.]

Decreased DNA repair gene expression among individuals exposed to arsenic in United States drinking water. Angeline S. Andrew, Margaret R. Karagas, Joshua W. Hamilton. International Journal of Cancer 104(3), 2003, 263-268 .  Abstract: Arsenic is well established as a human carcinogen, but its precise mechanism of action remains unknown. Arsenic does not directly damage DNA, but may act as a carcinogen through inhibition of DNA repair mechanisms, leading indirectly to increased mutations from other DNA damaging agents. The molecular mechanism underlying arsenic inhibition of nucleotide excision repair after UV irradiation (Hartwig et al., Carcinogenesis 1997;18:399-405) is unknown, but could be due to decreased expression of critical genes involved in nucleotide excision repair of damaged DNA. This hypothesis was tested by analyzing expression of repair genes and arsenic exposure in a subset of 16 individuals enrolled in a population based case-control study investigating arsenic exposure and cancer risk in New Hampshire. Toenail arsenic levels were inversely correlated with expression of critical members of the nucleotide excision repair complex, ERCC1 (r2 = 0.82, p < 0.0001), XPF (r2 = 0.56, p < 0.002), and XPB (r2 = 0.75, p < 0.0001). The internal dose marker, toenail arsenic level, was more strongly associated with changes in expression of these genes than drinking water arsenic concentration. Our findings, based on human exposure to arsenic in a US population, show an association between biomarkers of arsenic exposure and expression of DNA repair genes. Although our findings need verification in a larger study group, they are consistent with the hypothesis that inhibition of DNA repair capacity is a potential mechanism for the co-carcinogenic activity of arsenic. [At Wiley InterScience.]

Development and application of a robust speciation method for determination of six arsenic compounds present in human urine. Lisa S. Milstein, Amal Essader, Edo D. Pellizzari, Reshan A. Fernando, James H. Raymer, Keith E. Levine, and Olujide Akinbo. Environ Health Perspect 111:293-296 (2003).  Abstract: Six arsenic species [arsenate, arsenite, arsenocholine, arsenobetaine, monomethyl arsonic acid, and dimethyl arsinic acid] present in human urine were determined using ion-exchange chromatography combined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (IC-ICP-MS). Baseline separation was achieved for all six species as well as for the internal standard (potassium hexahydroxy antimonate V) in a single chromatographic run of less than 30 min, using an ammonium carbonate buffer gradient (between 10 and 50 mM) at ambient temperature, in conjunction with cation- and anion-exchange columns in series. The performance of the method was evaluated with respect to linearity, precision, accuracy, and detection limits. This method was applied to determine the concentration of these six arsenic species in human urine samples (n = 251) collected from a population-based exposure assessment survey. Method precision was demonstrated by the analysis of duplicate samples that were prepared over a 2-year analysis period. Total arsenic was also determined for the urine samples using flow injection analysis coupled to ICP-MS. The summed concentration of the arsenic species was compared with the measured arsenic total to demonstrate mass balance.  [At EHP Online.]

Diagnosis of arsenicosis. Kshitish Chandra Saha. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 255 - 272. Abstract: Arsenicosis is chronic subclinical or clinical toxicity due to high level of arsenic in body. Diagnosis of arsenicosis was derived by chronological establishment of facts: (a) arsenic as the cause of malady, (b) drinking water (tubewell water) as the vehicle of arsenic, (c) soil as the source of arsenic, (d) mechanism of leaching of arsenic from soil, and (e) cause of prevalence in particular areas of the country. Arsenicosis has been classified by the author into 4 stages, 7 grades and 20 subgrades. Stage I is pre-clinical or grade O. While clinical features were not found at this stage, high level of arsenic metabolites was observed in urine. As disease progressed to stable phase of grade O, high level of arsenic was also found in nails, hair, and skin scales. Stage II or clinical stage is divided into 4 grades, (1) Melanosis, (2) Spotted keratosis in palms/soles, (3) Diffuse keratosis in palms/soles, and (4) Dorsal keratosis. Clinical complications are grouped in stage III and grade 5. Malignancy is considered in stage IV and grade 6. There is a concern of both underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis. Therefore, cases of arsenicosis should be cautiously evaluated. Melanosis was the earliest cutaneous sign of clinical arsenicosis. Mild cases of melanosis could only be revealed by a thorough comparison with normal palms. Similarly mild cases of keratosis might not be visible and could only be revealed by careful palpation of palms and soles. Combination of melanosis and keratosis in adults indicated clinical diagnosis of arsenical dermatosis (ASD) that should be confirmed by showing high arsenic concentration in body tissues e.g., nails, hair, skin scales. Isolated melanosis or keratosis in newborn or children below 2 years almost negated the diagnosis of arsenicosis. Genetic melanosis or keratosis is often present since birth. Isolated melanosis or keratosis in adults should be differentiated from non-arsenical dermatosis and proven by absence of high arsenic level in nails and hair. Non arsenical causes of diffuse melanosis, spotted melanosis or leucomelanosis and localized or generalized keratosis can be clinically differentiated from arsenicosis by absence of pigmentation and keratosis in palms/soles.  [Free abstract & article purchase]

DNA repair gene XPD and susceptibility to arsenic-induced hyperkeratosis.  Habibul Ahsan, Yu Chena, Qiao Wangb, Vesna Slavkovichb, Joseph H. Grazianob and Regina M. Santellab.  Toxicology Letters 143(2) , 20 July 2003, 123-131.  Abstract:  Chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic is known to cause non-melanocytic skin and internal cancers in humans. An estimated 5070 million people in Bangladesh have been chronically exposed to arsenic from drinking water and are at risk of skin and other cancers. We undertook the first study to examine whether genetic susceptibility, as determined by the codon 751 SNP (AC) of the DNA repair gene XPD, influences the risk of arsenic-induced hyperkeratotic skin lesions, precursors of skin cancer, in a casecontrol study of 29 hyperkeratosis cases and 105 healthy controls from the same community in an area of Bangladesh. As expected, there was a monotonic increase in risk of hyperkeratosis in relation to urinary arsenic measures but the XPD genotype was not independently associated with the risk. However, the increase in hyperkeratosis risk in relation to urinary arsenic measures genotype was borderline significant for urinary total arsenic (P for TREND=0.06) and statistically significant for urinary creatinine adjusted arsenic (P for TREND=0.01) among subjects with the XPD A allele (AA) but not among subjects with the other XPD genotypes. Among AA carriers, the risk for the highest arsenic exposed group compared with the lowest was more than 7-fold for urinary total arsenic and about 11-fold for urinary creatinine adjusted arsenic. In conclusion, our findings suggest that the DNA repair gene XPD may influence the risk of arsenic-induced premalignant hyperkeratotic skin lesions. Future larger studies are needed to confirm this novel finding and investigate how combinations of different candidate genes and/or other host and environmental factors may influence the risk of arsenic induced skin and other cancers.  [At ScienceDirect.]

A dugwell program to provide arsenic-safe water in West Bengal, India - preliminary results. Meera M. Hira Smith, Timir Hore, Protap Chakraborty, D. K. Chakraborty, Xavier Savarimuthu, Allan H. Smith. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A- Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 289 - 299. [Full text.Abstract: In 1982, Dr. K. C. Saha, a dermatologist of Calcutta, West Bengal, identified patients with skin lesions from the district of 24 Parganas, leading him and others to search for a cause. The cause was soon identified to be arsenic in drinking water, but even today, 20 years later, large number of people continue to drink arsenic contaminated water and patients are increasing in number. Project Well is a program chosen for implementation in some villages of North 24 Parganas. Arsenic safe drinking water is provided for adopted villages by constructing shallow, concrete dugwells designed to tap the water of the unconfined aquifer, 20-30 feet below ground level, that contains low levels (<0.05 mg/L) of arsenic in the target region. The traditional dugwell design is modified by use of tube well hand pumps to withdraw water. The project includes community involvement, programs to increase awareness of the need to drink arsenic safe water, and training in monitoring of dugwell water for arsenic and harmful pathogens.  Disinfecting of the water and regulating the water hazard diagram are also included in the training program.  The plan is to make the system sustainable at the village level using indigenous labor and materials.

The ecology of arsenic. Ronald S. Oremland and John F. Stolz. Science 300(9), 939-944.  Abstract: Arsenic is a metalloid whose name conjures up images of murder. Nonetheless, certain prokaryotes use arsenic oxyanions for energy generation, either by oxidizing arsenite or by respiring arsenate. These microbes are phylogenetically diverse and occur in a wide range of habitats. Arsenic cycling may take place in the absence of oxygen and can contribute to organic matter oxidation. In aquifers, these microbial reactions may mobilize arsenic from the solid to the aqueous phase, resulting in contaminated drinking water. Here we review what is known about arsenicmetabolizing bacteria and their potential impact on speciation and mobilization of arsenic in nature.  [Science magazine online.]

Effects of arsenic on younger generations. Chiho Watanabe, Tsukasa Inaoka, Tamano Matsui, Kyoko Ishigaki, Nobuko Murayama, Ryutaro Ohtsuka. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 129 - 139. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: Health risks caused by the chronic exposure to arsenic-contaminated groundwater has been recognized in many Asian and Latin American countries. While the health effects among adults have been well documented, those among the younger generations including children, infants, babies, and fetus have been scarcely reported. In this minireview, possible effects of chronic arsenic exposure on the younger generations are discussed in terms of skin manifestations among the children, exposure among newborns and infants especially from the breast milk, child growth and development, reproductive performance. For each of the topics, our preliminary results obtained in an arsenic- contaminated area in Bangladesh will be described, followed by a brief overview on the recent publications dealing with the topic. Although there exist some human data that suggest possible effects on some of the above-mentioned endpoints, the data as a whole is too premature to conclude whether the arsenic poses serious threat to younger generations or not. Considering the public health importance of toxic effects imposed during the early life stages, it is clear that much more scientific efforts should be made to elucidate the possible effects of arsenic on the younger generations.

Effects of using arsenic-iron sludge in brick making. Md. Abdur Rouf and Md. Delwar Hossain. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

The efficacy of monoisoamyl ester of dimercaptosuccinic acid in chronic experimental arsenic poisoning in mice. S. J. S. Flora, G. M. Kannan, B. P. Pant, D. K. Jaiswal. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 241 - 254. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: The therapeutic efficacy of monoisoamyl meso-2,3- dimercaptosuccinic acid (MiADMSA), a new monoester of 2,3- dimercaptosuccinic acid on arsenic induced oxidative stress in liver and kidneys, alterations in hematopoietic system and depletion of arsenic burden was assessed, in mice. Three different doses of MiADMSA (25, 50 or 100 mg/kg) for five consecutive days were administered in chronically arsenic exposed mice (10 ppm in drinking water for six months). Oral administration of MiADMSA particularly at a dose of 50 mg/kg, produced relatively more pronounced beneficial effects on the inhibited blood d-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD), biochemical variables indicative of hepatic and renal oxidative stress and depletion of arsenic concentration in blood, liver and kidneys, compared with intraperitoneal administration of the drug. The treatment with MiADMSA although, produced essential metals imbalance which could be a restrictive factor for the possible therapeutic use of this compound in chronic arsenic poisoning and thus require further exploration.

Extent and severity of arsenic contamination in soils of Bangladesh. S. M. Imamul Huq, Anisur Rahman, Nazma Sultana and Ravi Naidu. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Fate of arsenic extracted with groundwater. M. Ashraf Ali, A. B. M. Badruzzaman, M. A. Jalil, M. Delwar Hossain, M. Feroze Ahmed, Abdullah Al Masud, Md. Kamruzzaman and M. Azizur Rahman. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Fate of arsenic in wastes generated from arsenic removal units. M. Ashraf Ali, A. B. M. Badruzzaman, M. A. Jalil, M. Feroze Ahmed, Md. Kamruzzaman, M. Azizur Rahman and Abdullah Al Masud. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Fighting arsenic at the grassroots: experience of BRAC's community awareness initiative in Bangladesh. Health Policy Plan 2003 Mar;18(1):93-100. Hadi A.  Abstract: The study evaluates the arsenic mitigation project of [the NGO Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee] BRAC in raising awareness of arsenic poisoning in rural communities in Bangladesh. Data came from selected project villages in south-western Bangladesh. Comparison villages were also selected from the same region. A total of 1240 randomly selected adults were interviewed in May 2000. Findings reveal that the mitigation project played a significant, positive role in raising awareness of the safe water options, signs of arsenicosis, mode of transmission and the type of treatment. Testing tube-well water for arsenic created curiosity, innovation and interest in the community, and the water treatment plant became a symbol of the arsenic campaign. The study concludes that the behavioural change aspects of the arsenic mitigation project have the potential to significantly improve the level of understanding about arsenic contamination in the traditional communities. [Abstract.]

Food chain aspects of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh - effects on quality and productivity of rice. J. M. Duxbury, A. B. Mayer, J. G. Lauren, N. Hassan. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 61 - 69. [Free abstract & article purchase]  Abstract: The total arsenic content of 150 paddy rice samples collected from Barisal, Comilla, Dinajpur, Kaunia, and Rajshahi districts, and from the BRRI experimental station at Rajshahi city in the boro and aman seasons of 2000 was determined by hydride generation-inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy (ICP). Arsenic concentrations varied from 10 to 420 g/kg at 14% moisture content. Rice yields and grain arsenic concentrations were 1.5 times higher in the boro (winter) than the summer (monsoon) season, consistent with the much greater use of groundwater for irrigation in the boro season. Mean values for the boro and aman season rices were 183 and 117 g/kg, respectively. The variation in arsenic concentrations in rice was only partially consistent with the pattern of arsenic concentrations in drinking water tube wells. There was no evidence from yield or panicle sterility data of arsenic toxicity to rice. Processing of rice (parboiling and milling) reduced arsenic concentrations in rice by an average of 19% in 21 samples collected from households. Human exposure to arsenic through rice would be equivalent to half of that in water containing 50 g/kg for 14% of the paddy rice samples at rice and water intake levels of 400 g and 4 L/cap/day, respectively.

Genetic polymorphism in p53 Codon 72 and skin cancer in southwestern Taiwan. Yen-Ching Chen, Lilian Xu, Yu-Liang Leon Guo, Huey-Jen Jenny Su, Yu-Mei Hsueh, Thomas J. Smith, Louise M. Ryan, Meei-Shyuan Lee, Sheau-Chiou Chaor, Julia Yu-Yun Lee, David C. Christiani. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 201 - 211. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: The Pro/Pro polymorphism of p53 codon 72 has been reported to be related to bladder and lung cancer, but its relationship with skin cancer is unclear. We assessed the hypothesis that there is a relationship between the p53 codon 72, Pro/Pro polymorphism, cumulative arsenic exposure, and the risk of skin cancer in a hospital-based case-control study in southwestern Taiwan. From 1996 to 1999, 93 newly-diagnosed skin cancer patients at the National Cheng-Kung University (NCKU) Hospital and 71 community controls matched on residence were recruited in southwestern Taiwan. The genotype of p53 codon 72 (Arg/Arg, Arg/Pro, or Pro/Pro) was determined for all subjects by polymerase chain reaction-restricted fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). A questionnaire was administered to each subject for collection of demographic information, personal habits, disease history, diet information, and other relevant questions. The Pro/Pro (homozygous) genotype was more frequent in skin cancer patients (cases, 20%; controls, 12%; P = 0.37). Subjects with the susceptible genotype Pro/Pro and heterozygous (intermediate) genotype Pro/Arg had 2.18 and 0.99 times risk of skin cancer than the wild type Arg/Arg (95% confidence interval, 0.74-4.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.44-2.21), respectively. Compared with subjects with 18.5<BMI<23, subjects with BMI>18.5 had 5.78 times risk of skin cancer (95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 31.36) after adjusting for other risk factors. There was no interaction between BMI and genotype, but the sample size was small. The risk of skin cancer did not significantly vary by tumor cell-type. The risk of skin cancer is increased in individuals with the Pro/Pro genotype. Larger, confirmatory studies are needed to clarify the role of constitutional polymorphisms in p53 and skin cancer risk.

Geochemical occurrence of arsenic in groundwater of Bangladesh: sources and mobilization processes. Anawar, H. M.; Akai, J.; Komaki, K.; Terao, H.; Yoshioka, T.; Toshio Ishizuka, T.; Safiullah, S.; Kato, K.Journal of Geochemical Exploration (in press).

Groundwater arsenic contamination, its health impact and mitigation program in Nepal  Roshan R. Shrestha, Mathura P. Shrestha, Narayan P. Upadhyay, Riddhi Pradhan, Rosha Khadka, Arinita Maskey, Makhan Maharjan, Sabita Tuladhar, Binod M. Dahal, Kabita Shrestha. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 185 - 200. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: About 47% of Nepal's total population is living in Terai region and 90% of them are relying on groundwater as their major source of drinking water. About 200,000 shallow tubewells have been installed by different agencies in 20 Terai districts, serving 11 million people. Recently, arsenic contamination of groundwater has been recognized as a public health problem in Nepal. This has sensitized government, national and international nongovernment organizations working on water quality sector to carry out water quality assessment for arsenic in the affected communities. So far, 15,000 tubewells has been tested where 23% samples exceeded World Health Organization guideline value of 10 g/L and 5% exceeded "Nepal Interim Arsenic Guideline" of 50 g/L. It is estimated that around 0.5 million people in Terai are living at risk of arsenic poisoning (>50 g/L). Some recent studies have reported the prevalence of dermatosis related to arsenicosis from 1.3 to 5.1% and the accumulation of arsenic in biological samples like hair and nail much higher than the acceptable level. Though some steps are being taken by government and private organizations to combat the problem, it has not been able to cover all the affected communities. Nepal still needs more research work on arsenic occurrence and effects and mitigation programs simultaneously.

Hair and toenail arsenic concentrations of residents living in areas with high environmental arsenic concentrations. Andrea L. Hinwood, Malcolm R. Sim, Damien Jolley, Nick de Klerk, Elisa B. Bastone, Jim Gerostamoulos, and Olaf H. Drummer. Environ Health Perspect 111:187-193 (2003).  Abstract: Surface soil and groundwater in Australia have been found to contain high concentrations of arsenic. The relative importance of long-term human exposure to these sources has not been established. Several studies have investigated long-term exposure to environmental arsenic concentrations using hair and toenails as the measure of exposure. Few have compared the difference in these measures of environmental sources of exposure. In this study we aimed to investigate risk factors for elevated hair and toenail arsenic concentrations in populations exposed to a range of environmental arsenic concentrations in both drinking water and soil as well as in a control population with low arsenic concentrations in both drinking water and soil. In this study, we recruited 153 participants from areas with elevated arsenic concentrations in drinking water and residential soil, as well as a control population with no anticipated arsenic exposures. The median drinking water arsenic concentrations in the exposed population were 43.8 g/L (range, 16.0-73 g/L) and median soil arsenic concentrations were 92.0 mg/kg (range, 9.1-9,900 mg/kg). In the control group, the median drinking water arsenic concentration was below the limit of detection, and the median soil arsenic concentration was 3.3 mg/kg. Participants were categorized based on household drinking water and residential soil arsenic concentrations. The geometric mean hair arsenic concentrations were 5.52 mg/kg for the drinking water exposure group and 3.31 mg/kg for the soil exposure group. The geometric mean toenail arsenic concentrations were 21.7 mg/kg for the drinking water exposure group and 32.1 mg/kg for the high-soil exposure group. Toenail arsenic concentrations were more strongly correlated with both drinking water and soil arsenic concentrations; however, there is a strong likelihood of significant external contamination. Measures of residential exposure were better predictors of hair and toenail arsenic concentrations than were local environmental concentrations. [Abstract online.]

Influence of upstream sediment on arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh. Mohammod Aktarul Islam Chowdhury, M. Feroze Ahmed and M. Ashraf Ali.  In:  Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the  BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh.  [Full text .pdf.]

Laboratory case identification of arsenic in Ronpibul village, Thailand (2000-2002). Sumol Pavittranon, Kwanyuen Sripaoraya, Staporn Ramchuen, Sirinmas Kachamatch, Wilaiwan Puttaprug, Narong Pamornpusirikul, Siriluck Thaicharuen, Sutee Rujiwanitchkul, Winai Walueng. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 213 - 221. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: Ronpibul village dwellers in the southern part of Thailand have been exposed to arsenic in the water and the environment over three generations. Over the past decades, clean water supplies, utilization and consumption have been introduced to the area. The villagers still use and select rainwater to other forms of potable water. In 2000, the epidemiological survey by Siripitayakunkit (Siripitayakunkit, U. Survey of Chronic Arsenic Poisoning in Ronpiboon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, 2000. Proc. 6th International Conference on the Biochemistry of Trace Elements, Guelph, Canada) showed prevalence rate at 24.7%, by using the skin lesion as selection criteria. In 2000-2002, attempt to initiate the local arsenic patient center, we investigated the population at risk in three villages. The laboratory analyses cover urine arsenic level, urine sugar screening and skin lesion classified by dermatologist. The result showed the prevalence of 5.99% of melanosis and 8.67% of hyperkeratosis, 3.84% of urine sugar>100 mg/dL and 6.33% urine arsenic>50 g/g creatinine. There were low to negligible correlation between arsenic urine with urine sugar (r2 = 0.241) and arsenic urine with skin lesion (r2 = 0.058).

Leaching of arsenic from wastes of arsenic removal systems. A. B. M. Badruzzaman. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Leaching of arsenic from iron oxide impregnated brick sands (Shapla Filter media) using common chemicals and water. M. Fakhrul Islam, M. Moklesur Rahman and Sad Ahamed. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Magnitude of arsenic toxicity in tube-well drinking water in Bangladesh and its adverse effects on human health including cancer: evidence from a review of the literature.  Khan MM, Sakauchi F, Sonoda T, Washio M, Mori M.  Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2003 Jan-Mar;4(1):7-14.  Abstract: Only after a decade from 1993, arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh has been reported as the biggest arsenic catastrophe in the world. It is a burning public health issue in this country. More than 50 percent of the total population is estimated at risk of contamination. Already thousands of people have been affected by the disease arsenicosis. Many more may be on the way to manifest lesions in future. We conducted a review of previous studies and published articles including MEDLINE database on this issue. We found that 59 districts out of 64 have been already affected by arsenic in underground drinking water, where this particular source of drinking water is the main source for 97 percent of the rural people. The water is unfortunately now a great threat for the human being due to high level of arsenic. Continuous arsenic exposure can lead people to develop arsenicosis, which in turn elevates the risk of cancer. Skin lesions are the most common manifestations in arsenicosis patients. Relatively poor rural people and other socio-economically disadvantaged groups are more affected by this exposure. Until now cancer patients have been relatively limited in Bangladesh. One of the reasons may be that several years are needed to show cancer manifestations from the beginning of arsenic exposure. But it is suspected that after some years a large number of patients will appear with cancer in different sites for arsenic exposure in drinking water. Various studies have been conducted in arsenic affected countries - notably in Argentina, Chile, China, Japan, and Taiwan -to find the potential of arsenic exposure to cause development of cancer. Among the arsenic related cancers, liver, lung, skin, bladder and kidney cancers are reported to be prevalent in these countries. Unfortunately no scientific study has been yet conducted in Bangladesh to find the relationship between arsenic exposure and cancers in different sites of the body. So our aim is to conduct an ecological as well as a case-control study in the country in the future.  [At PubMed.]

Millions more at risk of arsenic poisoning than previously thought.  Sanjay Kumar.  British Medical Journal 2003;326:466 (1March).  "The number of people at risk of arsenic poisoning from drinking water from sunken wells may be considerably higher than previously thought, a new report from the University of Calcutta has said "Almost 330 million people may be at risk in India and Bangladesh compared to 150 million as believed earlier," says Dipankar Chakraborti of the School of Environmental Sciences, Jadavpur University, Calcutta. " [Full text.]

Neuropathy in arsenic toxicity from groundwater arsenic contamination in West Bengal, India. Subhash Chandra Mukherjee, Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman, Uttam Kumar Chowdhury, Mrinal Kumar Sengupta, Dilip Lodh, Chitta Ranjan Chanda, Kshitish Chandra Saha, Dipankar Chakraborti. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 165 - 183. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: Large number of people from 9 out of 18 districts of West Bengal, India are endemically exposed to arsenic contaminated groundwater due to drinking of tubewell water containing arsenic level above World Health Organization's maximum permissible limit of 50 g/L. From our ongoing studies on neurological involvement in patients of arsenicosis from different districts of West Bengal, we report our findings in a total of 451 patients of three districts (Murshidabad, Nadia, and Burdwan), comprising 267 males and 184 females with age ranging from 11 to 79 years. They all had arsenical skin lesions, positive biomarkers and identified source of arsenic contaminated water drinking. Peripheral neuropathy was the predominant neurological complication in these patients affecting 154 (37.3%) of 413 patients of Group 1 and 33 (86.8%) of 38 patients of Group 2. Other possible causes and alternative explanations of neuropathy were excluded. The temporal profile in most of the cases (154 of Group 1) were of chronic affection while the 33 patients of Group 2 developed both neuropathy and dermopathy subacutely. Subacutely affected Group 2 patients had much higher incidence of neuropathy. Paresthesias and pains in the distal parts of extremities were much higher in incidence in Group 2 (73.7% and 23.7% respectively) than in Group 1 (18.4% and 11.1%). Distal limb weakness or atrophy was evident in 7.3% in Group 1 and 10.5% in Group 2. Overall, sensory features were more common than motor features in patients of neuropathy and sensory neuropathy was diagnosed in 30% and 76.3% and sensorimotor in 7.3% and 10.5% respectively in Group 1 and Group 2 subjects. Nerve conduction and electromyographic studies performed in 88 cases revealed dysfunction of sensory nerve in 45% and 27% and of motor nerve in 20% and 16.7% of patients with moderate degree and mild degree of clinical neuropathies respectively. Evoked potential studies performed in 20 patients were largely normal except for two instances each of abnormal visual evoked potential and brainstem auditory evoked potential findings. Prognosis was favorable in mild and early diagnosed cases of neuropathy whereas most of the other more severe and late diagnosed cases showed slow and partial recovery or even deterioration. Outcome in neuropathic patients of arsenicosis and long term toxic neurologic effects yet unexplored and unknown remain as matters of future concern requiring close monitoring.

Non-cancer effects of chronic arsenicosis in Bangladesh - preliminary results. Abul Hasnat Milton, Ziaul Hasan, Atiqur Rahman, Mahfuzar Rahman Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 301 - 305. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: A total of 136 patients were studied in three Upazillas of Laxmipur, Barisal and Madaripur districts were selected for health awareness campaign program. According to the existing data, these villages were ranked as high exposure. Demographic data of the patients investigated are showing pigmentation was seen in all-136 cases, keratosis was found only in 110 cases, and skin ulcer was detected in 13 cases. The predominant features are indicating respiratory sign and symptoms followed by conjunctival congestion and redness of eyes. Weakness was predominant symptom, and all most all cases reported weakness. There were few smokers (n = 16) and analyses were confined to non-smokers (n = 94). A total of the 94 subjects participated in this study. The sex ratio was 1:1.3 (male vs. female). The relative risk of chronic cough increased with age (RR = 2.12, for 26-50 age group; RR = 2.30 for age group more than 51) reflecting chronic exposure, but the 95% confidence intervals included unity. The relative risk of chronic bronchitis increased with age (RR = 2.68, for 26-50 age group; RR = 2.30 for age group more than 51) reflecting chronic exposure, but the 95% confidence intervals also included unity. The findings presented here provide evidence that ingestion of inorganic arsenic in drinking water may results in increases risk of chronic cough and bronchitis.

Pattern of excretion of arsenic compounds [arsenite, arsenate, MMA(V), DMA(V)] in urine of children compared to adults from an arsenic exposed area in Bangladesh. Uttam Kumar Chowdhury, Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman, Mrinal Kumar Sengupta, Dilip Lodh, Chitta Ranjan Chanda, Shibtosh Roy, Quazi Quamruzzaman, Hiroshi Tokunaga, Masanori Ando, Dipankar Chakraborti. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 87 - 113. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: Urinary arsenic is generally considered as the most reliable indicator of recent exposure to inorganic arsenic and is used as the main bio-marker of exposure. However, due to the different toxicity of arsenic compounds, speciation of arsenic in urine is generally considered to be more convenient for health risk assessment than measuring total arsenic concentration. Additionally, it can give valuable information about the metabolism of arsenic species within the body. In our study, for exposed group-42 urine samples were collected from Datterhat (South) village of Madaripur district, Bangladesh and an average arsenic concentration in their drinking water was 376 g/L (range 118 to 620 g/L). For control group, 27 urine samples were collected from a non-affected district, Badhadamil village of Medinipur district, West Bengal, India, where arsenic concentration in their drinking water is below 3 g/L. The arsenic species in the urine were separated and quantified by using HPLC-ICP-MS. The sum of inorganic arsenic and its metabolites was also determined by FI-HG-AAS. Results indicate that average total urinary arsenic metabolites in children's urine is higher than adults and total arsenic excretion per kg body weight is also higher for children than adults. For arsenic species between adults and children, it has been observed that inorganic arsenic (In-As) in average is 2.36% and MMA is 6.55% lower for children than adults while DMA is 8.91% (average) higher in children than adults. The efficiency of the methylation process is also assessed by the ratio between urinary concentration of putative product and putative substrate of the arsenic metabolic pathway. Higher values mean higher methylation capacity. Results show the values of the MMA/In-As ratio for adults and children are 0.93 and 0.74 respectively. These results indicate that first reaction of the metabolic pathway is more active in adults than children. But a significant increase in the values of the DMA/MMA ratio in children than adults of exposed group (8.15 vs. 4.11 respectively) indicates 2nd methylation step is more active in children than adults. It has also been shown that the distribution of the values of DMA/MMA ratio to exposed group decrease with increasing age (2nd methylation process). Thus from these results we may infer that children retain less arsenic in their body than adults. This may also explain why children do not show skin lesions compared to adults when both are drinking same contaminated water.

Prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and related vascular diseases in southwestern arseniasis-endemic and nonendemic areas in Taiwan. Shu-Li Wang, Jeng-Min Chiou, Chien-Jen Chen, Chin-Hsiao Tseng, Wei-Ling Chou, Cheng-Chung Wang, Trong- Neng Wu, and Louis W. Chang. Environmental Health Perspectives 111(2) 155-159, February 2003.  Abstract: There is evidence indicating that ingestion of arsenic may predispose the development of diabetes mellitus in arsenic-endemic areas in Taiwan. However, the prevalence of diabetes and related vascular diseases in the entire southwestern arseniasis-endemic and nonendemic areas remains to be elucidated. We used the National Health Insurance Database for 1999-2000 to derive the prevalence of non-insulin- dependent diabetes and related vascular diseases by age and sex among residents in southwestern arseniasis-endemic and nonendemic areas in Taiwan. The study included 66,667 residents living in endemic areas and 639,667 in nonendemic areas, all 25 years of age. The status of diabetes and vascular diseases was ascertained through disease diagnosis and treatment prescription included in the reimbursement claims of clinics and hospitals. The prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes, age- and gender-adjusted to the general population in Taiwan, was 7.5% (95% confidence interval, 7.4-7.7%) in the arseniasis-endemic areas and 3.5% (3.5-3.6%) in the nonendemic areas. Among both diabetics and nondiabetics, higher prevalence of microvascular and macrovascular diseases was observed in arseniasis-endemic than in the nonendemic areas. Age- and gender-adjusted prevalence of microvascular disease in endemic and nonendemic areas was 20.0% and 6.0%, respectively, for diabetics, and 8.6% and 1.0%, respectively, for nondiabetics. The corresponding prevalence of macrovascular disease was 25.3% and 13.7% for diabetics, and 12.3% and 5.5% for nondiabetics. Arsenic has been suggested to increase the risk of non- insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and its related micro- and macrovascular diseases.  [Abstract online.]

Searching for an optimum solution to the Bangladesh arsenic crisis.  Caldwell BK, Caldwell JC, Mitra SN, Smith W.  Soc Sci Med 2003 May;56(10):2089-96.  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 arseniosis. 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.  [At PubMed.]

The spatial pattern of risk from arsenic poisoning - a Bangladesh case study. M. Manzurul Hassan, Peter J. Atkins, Christine E. Dunn. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A- Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 1 - 24. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: Arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh has been one of the biggest environmental health and social disasters of recent times. About seventy million people in Bangladesh are exposed to toxic levels of arsenic (0.05 mg/L) in drinking water. It is ironic that so many tubewells have been installed in recent times to provide drinking water that is safe from water-borne diseases but that the water pumped is contaminated with toxic levels of arsenic. Along with the clinical manifestations, some social problems have also emerged due to arsenic toxicity. Analysing the spatial risk pattern of arsenic in groundwater is the main objective of this paper. Establishing the extent of arsenic exposure to the people will facilitate an understanding of the health effects and estimating the population risk over the area. This paper seeks to explore the spatial pattern of arsenic concentrations in groundwater for analyzing and mapping 'problem regions' or 'risk zones' for composite arsenic hazard information by using GIS-based data processing and spatial analysis along with state-of-the-art decision-making techniques. Quantitative data along with spatial information were employed and analyzed for this paper.

Speciation of arsenic metabolite intermediates in human urine by ion-exchange chromatography and flow injection hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry. Mohammad Alauddin, Sarah T. Alauddin, Maya Bhattacharjee, Shamima Sultana, Dulaly Chowdhury, Hawa Bibi, Gholam H. Rabbani. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2003 38(1), 115 - 128. [Free abstract & article purchaseAbstract: Biomethylation is considered as the principal metabolic and detoxification pathway for inorganic arsenic in humans. The end products of methylation are less toxic and more readily excreted through urine. Therefore, speciation of metabolites in urine is essential to a better understanding of arsenic metabolism, health effects and detoxification ability of individuals exposed to arsenic through drinking water, food and environmental materials. Speciation of inorganic and methylated arsenic in urine is an analytical challenge and often requires expensive instrumentation. We have applied a relatively inexpensive technique for the separation and analysis of various arsenic species, such as, arsenite, arsenate, monomethylarsonic acid (MMA) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) in human urine. The technique is based on ion exchange chromatographic separation followed by flow injection hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy (FI-HG-AAS). The detection limit varies from 1.0 to 2.0 g/L for various species. The technique has been successfully applied to speciation of arsenic metabolite intermediates in urine samples collected from patients in Hajiganj, a serious arsenic affected area in Bangladesh. Arsenite (AsIII) was found to be the major component in the urine from these patients. Our findings from patients in Hajiganj, Bangladesh are presented in this paper. The technique permits us to carry out arsenic speciation in urine, essential for toxicological studies and possible nutritional intervention in combating arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh.

A study of arsenic contaminated irrigation water and its carried over effect[s] on vegetable[s]. A. T. M. Farid, K. C. Roy, K. M. Hossain and R. Sen. In: Fate of Arsenic in the Environment, Proceedings of the BUET-UNU International Symposium, 5-6 February 2003, Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Full text .pdf.]

Survey of arsenic and other heavy metals in food composites and drinking water and estimation of dietary intake by the villagers from an arsenic-affected area of West Bengal, India.  Roychowdhury T, Tokunaga H, Ando M.  Abstract: An investigation of arsenic, copper, nickel, manganese, zinc and selenium concentration in foodstuffs and drinking water, collected from 34 families and estimation of the average daily dietary intake were carried out in the arsenic-affected areas of the Jalangi and Domkal blocks, Murshidabad district, West Bengal where arsenic-contaminated groundwater (mean: 0.11 mg/l, n=34) is the main source for drinking. The shallow large diameter tubewells, installed for agricultural irrigation contain an appreciable amount of arsenic (mean: 0.094 mg/l, n=10). So some arsenic can be expected in the food chain and food cultivated in this area. Most of the individual food composites contain a considerable amount of arsenic. The mean arsenic levels in food categories are vegetables (20.9 and 21.2 &mgr;g/kg), cereals and bakery goods (130 and 179 &mgr;g/kg) and spices (133 and 202 &mgr;g/kg) for the Jalangi and Domkal blocks, respectively. For all other heavy metals, the observed mean concentration values are mostly in good agreement with the reported values around the world (except higher zinc in cereals). The provisional tolerable daily intake value of inorganic arsenic (&mgr;g/kg body wt./day) is: for adult males (11.8 and 9.4); adult females (13.9 and 11); and children (15.3 and 12) in the Jalangi and Domkal blocks, respectively (according to FAO/WHO report, the value is 2.1 &mgr;g/kg body wt./day). According to WHO, intake of 1.0 mg of inorganic arsenic per day may give rise to skin lesions within a few years. The average daily dietary intake of copper, nickel and manganese is high, whereas for zinc, the value is low (for adult males: 8.34 and 10.2 mg/day; adult females: 8.26 and 10.3 mg/day; and children: 4.59 and 5.66 mg/day) in the Jalangi and Domkal blocks, respectively, compared to the recommended dietary allowance of zinc for adult males, adult females and children (15, 12 and 10 mg/day, respectively). The average daily dietary intake of selenium (&mgr;g/kg body wt./day) is on the lower side for the children (1.07 and 1.22), comparable for the adult males (0.81 and 0.95) and slightly on the higher side for the adult females (1.08 and 1.26), compared to the recommended value (1.7 and 0.9 &mgr;g/kg body wt./day for infants and adults, respectively).  [At PubMed.]

Widespread arsenic contamination of soils in residential areas and public spaces: an emerging regulatory or medical crisis? D A Belluck, S L Benjamin, P Baveye, J Sampson, B Johnson. International Journal of Toxicology, 22(2) Mar-Apr 2003, 109-128.  Abstract: A critical review finds government agencies allow, permit, license, or ignore arsenic releases to surface soils. Release rates are controlled or evaluated using risk-based soil contaminant numerical limits employing standardized risk algorithms, chemical-specific and default input values. United States arsenic residential soil limits, ~0.4-~40 ppm, generally correspond to a one-in-one-million to a one-in-ten-thousand incremental cancer risk range via ingestion of or direct contact with contaminated residential soils. Background arsenic surface soil levels often exceed applicable limits. Arsenic releases to surface soils (via, e.g., air emissions, waste recycling, soil amendments, direct pesticide application, and chromated copper arsenic (CCA)-treated wood) can result in greatly elevated arsenic levels, sometimes one to two orders of magnitude greater than applicable numerical limits. CCA-treated wood, a heavily used infrastructure material at residences and public spaces, can release sufficient arsenic to result in surface soil concentrations that exceed numerical limits by one or two orders of magnitude. Although significant exceedence of arsenic surface soil numerical limits would normally result in regulatory actions at industrial or hazardous waste sites, no such pattern is seen at residential and public spaces. Given the current risk assessment paradigm, measured or expected elevated surface soil arsenic levels at residential and public spaces suggest that a regulatory health crisis of sizeable magnitude is imminent. In contrast, available literature and a survey of government agencies conducted for this paper finds no verified cases of human morbidity or mortality resulting from exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in surface soils. This concomitance of an emerging regulatory health crisis in the absence of a medical crisis is arguably partly attributable to inadequate government and private party attention to the issue.  [At Taylor & Francis.]