Assessment of arsenic contamination of groundwater and health problems in Bangladesh.

International journal of environmental research and public health

PubMedID: 16705819

Khalequzzaman M, Faruque FS, Mitra AK. Assessment of arsenic contamination of groundwater and health problems in Bangladesh. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2005;2(2):204-13.
Excessive amounts of arsenic (As) in the groundwater in Bangladesh and neighboring states in India are a major public health problem. About 30% of the private wells in Bangladesh exhibit high concentrations of arsenic. Over half the country, 269 out of 464 administrative units, is affected. Similar problems exist in many other parts of the world, including the Unites States. This paper presents an assessment of the health hazards caused by arsenic contamination in the drinking water in Bangladesh. Four competing hypotheses, each addressing the sources, reaction mechanisms, pathways, and sinks of arsenic in groundwater, were analyzed in the context of the geologic history and land-use practices in the Bengal Basin. None of the hypotheses alone can explain the observed variability in arsenic concentration in time and space; each appears to have some validity on a local scale. Thus, it is likely that several biogeochemical processes are active among the region's various geologic environments, and that each contributes to the mobilization and release of arsenic. Additional research efforts will be needed to understand the relationships between underlying biogeochemical factors and the mechanisms for arsenic release in various geologic settings.