Arsenic Contamination in Bangladesh: Sustainable Mitigation Strategy based on the Local Condition

Research Project , Research Report 2001

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
Hidetoshi KITAWAKI Department of Urban Environmental Engineering, the Univ. of Tokyo
Yasumoto MAGARA Engineering Research Institute, the Univ. of Tokyo
Dai SIMAZAKI Dept. of Regional Development Studies, Toyo University(Research Partners)
M.M. RAHMAN Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh
M.H. RAHMAN Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh
Charles HARVEY Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Stephan HUG EAWAG, Zurich, Switzerland
M.H. RAHMAN University of Rajshahi,, Bangladesh
P.Bandyopadhyay Bengal Engineering College, India


In Bangladesh, arsenic contamination of groundwater becomes a serious threat to human health. In a series of survey conducted in the northwest Bangladesh, we have examined the infantile exposure to arsenic in a periurban community. A high correlation was found between arsenic concentrations of urine ([As]u) in children and those in their mothers. The arsenic concentrations in breast milk ranged between non-detectable level to 38 ng/mL, which was much higher than ever reported from arsenic-contaminated population, suggesting that exposure via breast milk may also be important for infants in this area. Chemical speciation of urinary arsenic with HPLC-ICP-MS revealed that there might be a suppression of the second step methylation in highly exposed individual, although this point needs to be further confirmed with larger sample size. Current mitigation technologies for arsenic-polluted groundwater in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India were reviewed and their arsenic removal performances were evaluated by chemical analysis (IC/ICP/MS method). Performance of some groundwater treatment plants and instruments was lower than expected and did not satisfy the drinking water standard of 50mg/L in Bangladesh. Improvements of the current arsenic mitigation technologies in respect to their structure, and other technical concerns were discussed.