Toxicity and Consequences
Arsenicosis is a
multi system disorder: People suffer
from generalized weakness, apatite and weight loss.
Chronic Toxicity effects:
skin, lungs, gastrointestinal,
liver, spleen, bladder, central nervous system, peripheral nerves,
and cardiovascular systems.
Skin: Diffuse or spoted melanosis; hyperpigmentation;
hyperkeratosis; Skin cancer. (See
Vascular: Black foot disease; Progressive arterial disease(PVD),
population at risk
districts of West Bengal, area
14,450 square miles and living population of 34 million have been
with arsenic. In 830 villages more than 1.5 million people drink
contaminated water. Food products grown in these areas also contribute
increased exposure. The health risks are enormous.
World Health Organization (WHO) maximum
0.05 ppm(parts per million) or <50 ug/L. Many parts of West Bengal
has levels of 0.1 ppm(100 ug/L, 0.3 ppm (300 ug/L) and even up to 3 ppm
ug/L), though rarely.
Arsenic levels in hair, nail and urine
of 85-90% samples
made sub-clinical arsenicosis diagnosis. 90 % of children living in
shows hair and nail levels higher than normal.
Chronic arsenic toxicity develops
insidiously after 6
months to 2 years or more of exposure. Time of onset for arsenicosis to
is dependent on ground water arsenic concentration, volume consumption,
and nutritional status of individuals. Arsenic contaminated water is
and colorless, thus difficult to know by its appearance.
Extensive long term efforts are needed to combat arsenic crisis.
1. Control of Tube Wells/hand pumps (click for picture).
2. Installation of effective and economical filter units (picture) for various
and or shallow wells (picture), all needing proper monitoring of safety
3. Watershed management.
4. Traditional water management.
5. Early diagnosis/treatment/follow up of affected people.
6. Public awareness and education programs.
being done? Various
government and non government
organizations (NGO) are involved in West Bengal. In USA, Water
for People from Colorado and many
other organizations are
involved in helping various regions of the world to improve sanitation
clean water availability. Our main thrust are to be directed towards
side of the health and wellness of affected people in affected villages
Web development: S.K. Maitra