ABSTRACT: Arsenic (As) induced identifiable health outcomes are now spreading across Indian subcontinent with continuous discovery of high As concentrations in groundwater. This study deals with groundwater hydrochemistry vis-à-vis As exposure assessment among rural population in Chakdaha block, West Bengal, India. The water quality survey reveals that 96% of the tubewells exceed WHO guideline value (10 μg/L of As). The groundwaters are generally anoxic (-283 to -22 mV) with circum-neutral pH (6.3 to 7.8). The hydrochemistry is dominated by HCO(3)(-) (208 to 440 mg/L), Ca(2+) (79 to 178 mg/L) and Mg(2+) (17 to 45 mg/L) ions along with high concentrations of As(T) (As total, below detection limit to 0.29 mg/L), Fe(T) (Fe total, 1.2 to 16 mg/L), and Fe(II) (0.74 to 16 mg/L). The result demonstrates that Fe(II)-Fe(III) cycling is the dominant process for the release of As from aquifer sediments to groundwater (and vice versa), which is mainly controlled by the local biogeochemical conditions. The exposure scenario reveals that the consumption of groundwater and rice are the major pathways of As accumulation in human body, which is explained by the dietary habit of the surveyed population. Finally, regular awareness campaign is essential as part of the management and prevention of health outcomes.
Water Research 11/2010; 44(19):5803-12. · 4.86 Impact Factor