Arsenic contamination in Bangladesh: sustainable mitigation strategy based on the local condition

Research Project , Research Report 2002

Ryutaro OHTSUKA Dept. of Human Ecology, The Univ. of Tokyo
Kazuo YAMAMOTO Environmental Science Center, The Univ. of Tokyo
Chiho WATANABE Dept. of Human Ecology, The Univ. of Tokyo
Kensuke FUKUSHI Environmental Science Center, The Univ. of Tokyo

Abstract

Chronic exposure to arsenic through “naturally-“contaminated groundwater can found in many developing countries including Bangladesh. As a part of continuing survey in the northwestern rural Bangladesh, we have tried to evaluate the total oral exposure to arsenic. For this, we quantified the drinking water consumption in the adults of two target communities; the results showed there was no sex-related difference in the water consumption, but the periurban community consumed less water than the rural community. Combined with the data obtained in our past surveys, oral intake of total arsenic may differ between sexes, but only when the intake level is low. Along with this line, we have also found distinctive sex-related difference in the methylation of ingested arsenic, which may be related with the vulnerability of the males. Regarding the removal technology of arsenic, the process of removal by a sand-filter system was analyzed in laboratory conditions. Some factors related with the low efficacy of this type of filter system were identified, and based on the experimental results, some suggestions for improvement of the removal system will be made.

Keywords:

water quality, arsenic, drinking water, health effects, exposure evaluation, arsenic removal, chemical speciation, Bangladesh, Nepal