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This study tests the drinking water supply of a marginalized village community of Khap Tola in the state of Bihar, a state in Northern India. Based on hand pump drinking water sample testing and analysis, we found that there was high levels of arsenic (maximum value being 397 ppb), in excess of the WHO limits of 10ppb. Analysis showed 57% of the samples from private hand-pumps in the shallow aquifer zone of 15–35 m have arsenic greater than 200 ppb. Using GIS overlay analysis technique it was calculated that 25% of the residential area in the village is under high risk of arsenic contamination. Further using USEPA guidelines, it was calculated that children age group 5–10 years are under high risk of getting cancer. The Hazard Quotient calculated for 21 children taken for study, indicated that children may have adverse non-carcinogenic health impacts, in the future, with continued exposure. Since the area adds a new arsenic contaminated place in India, further geochemical analysis and health assessment needs to be done in this district of West Champaran in, Bihar.
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published: 20 November 2014
doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2014.00049
High arsenic contamination in drinking water hand-pumps
in Khap Tola, West Champaran, Bihar, India
Siddharth Bhatia1*, Guru Balamurugan2and Annu Baranwal3
1Disaster Management, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
2Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
3Environmental Health Resource Hub, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
Edited by:
Khwaja M. Sultanul Aziz,
Bangladesh Academy of Sciences,
Reviewed by:
Roshanak Rezaei Kalantary, Iran
University of Medical Sciences, Iran
Munawar Sultana, University of
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Siddharth Bhatia, Jamsetji Tata
Centre for Disaster Management,
Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Malti and Jal A. D. Naoroji Campus
(Annex), PO Box No. 8313, Deonar,
Mumbai 400 088, India
This study tests the drinking water supply of a marginalized village community of Khap
Tola in the state of Bihar, a state in Northern India. Based on hand pump drinking water
sample testing and analysis, we found that there was high levels of arsenic (maximum
value being 397 ppb), in excess of the WHO limits of 10ppb. Analysis showed 57% of the
samples from private hand-pumps in the shallow aquifer zone of 15–35 m have arsenic
greater than 200 ppb. Using GIS overlay analysis technique it was calculated that 25%
of the residential area in the village is under high risk of arsenic contamination. Further
using USEPA guidelines, it was calculated that children age group 5–10 years are under
high risk of getting cancer. The Hazard Quotient calculated for 21 children taken for study,
indicated that children may have adverse non-carcinogenic health impacts, in the future,
with continued exposure. Since the area adds a new arsenic contaminated place in India,
further geochemical analysis and health assessment needs to be done in this district of
West Champaran in, Bihar.
Keywords: arsenic contamination, hand-pumps, West Champaran, groundwater, GIS overlay analysis, hazard
Water hand-pumps were installed in the alluvium plains of
Ganges and Brahmaputra of Northern India (Chen and Ahsan,
2004), as a public health measure to combat diarrheal and water
borne diseases associated with drinking water from open wells
and streams. Water from Open wells and streams were more
prone to contamination with faecal micro-organisms. This prob-
lem was overcome by the introduction of the sealed hand pumps.
The last 20–30 years, there has seen an increase use of groundwa-
ter for drinking purposes in rural areas (Jakariya et al., 2003). As
the government hand-pumps became popular, due to their low-
cost and easy accessibility and use; a number of private providers
began to install hand-pumps to provide households with drinking
water (Smith et al., 2003).
The private hand-pumps were not as deep as the government
installed hand pumps. These hand-pumps brought with them
the risk of arsenic contamination, which has been declared as
one of the key environmental health problem of the 21st cen-
tury (Christen, 2001). The first case of arsenic poisoning was
detected in 1983 in Calcutta, West Bengal, India (Mazumdar,
2008). Since then a number of areas have been identified in dif-
ferent districts of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh,
which are states in north and eastern India (Kumar et al.,
While arsenic, has been naturally present in groundwater for
thousands of years; the kinetics of release from sediments and the
residence time plays an important role increasing the arsenic con-
centrations in certain aquifers, especially in the younger alluvium
flood plains of the Ganges (Stute et al., 2007).
WHO has classified arsenic as one of 10 chemicals of pub-
lic health concern (WHO, 2010). A number of health effects,
like skin lesions, peripheral neuropathy, gastrointestinal symp-
toms, diabetes, renal system effects, cardiovascular disease, and
cancer have been linked to arsenic contamination. However, the
signs and symptoms can take years to develop depending on the
level of exposure (Hindmarsh et al., 2002; WHO, 2010). The
vulnerable groups are pregnant women and infants, who are
at higher risk of arsenic exposure, as arsenic is known to pass
through the placenta (U.S. EPA, 2007). Children are at higher
risk of arsenic poisoning, as the symptoms are usually unde-
tectable in the early stages (Singh and Ghosh, 2012). The early
symptoms go unnoticed or are ignored, due to lack of educa-
tion and awareness in the context of low socio-economic status
and poor medical facilities, in these areas (Safiuddin and Karim,
2001). Further, the high prevalence of malnutrition and pro-
tein deficiency among children makes them more vulnerable to
arsenic poisoning (WHO, 2010). The International Agency for
Research and Cancer (IARC) first evaluated the health effects
of arsenic in 1973 and concluded that it causes cancer through
drinking water (IARC, 1973).Thesameconclusionsweredrawn
in the second evaluation performed in 1980 by IARC. In the
more recent studies conducted by IARC, inorganic arsenic was
classified as Group A human carcinogen which can cause can-
cer of the urinary bladder, lung, skin and possibly also kidney
and liver (IARC, 2004). The earliest signs of toxicity from chronic
exposure to arsenic in drinking water in humans are pigmen-
tation changes, which are known as arsenicosis (IARC, 2004).
The latency period is usually 5–10 years of consumption of November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |1
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
arsenic-contaminated water greater than the unsafe levels (NRC,
Based on this evidence and the widespread arsenic cases
around the world, WHO revised the drinking water guidelines in
1993, with safe limits for arsenic in drinking water was reduced
from 50 to 10 ppb, making more stringent acceptable limits in the
drinking water standards. However, in India the old acceptable
limits of 50ppb are being followed by Bureau of Indian Standards
(BIS) (Smedley and Kinniburgh, 2002).
The Gangetic belt in Bihar has been researched for arsenic con-
tamination, both in terms of its release mechanism in ground
water and public health concerns. However, there are remote
villages, like the study area (Khap Tola) which exclusively use
hand-pumps as their only source of drinking water. The aim of
this study was to quantify arsenic contamination of the drinking
water of Khap Tola residents, and used GIS overlay techniques to
map the population at risk, by identifying the hand-pumps, which
were the only source of drinking water.
West Champaran district lies between 2616Nand27
8350and 8518E in the north-western part of Bihar shar-
ing its border with hilly region of Nepal on the north and the
Padrauna and Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh on the west. The
study area of Khap Tola was chosen for sample testing, as it
had been identified as a high-risk area in previous studies done
by Megh Pyne Abhiyan (MPA), a NGO working in the flood
affected districts of North Bihar. Total population of the Khap
Tola was 916 with 138 households spread across the village. There
are a total of 85 hand-pumps in the village with 20 govern-
ments installed and 65 private. The wells in the village were not
used anymore as hand-pumps were nearer and more convenient
to use. A cluster of the marginalized and caste-discriminated
residents was chosen for drinking water sampling. In this clus-
ter, there are a total of 20 hand-pumps with 6 government and
14 installed privately. The location of Khap Tola is shown in
Figure 1.
Water samples from all 20 hand-pumps in this cluster were
tested for the presence of arsenic in drinking water. Standard
water testing methodology was followed and the samples were
acidified with two drops of HCL to maintain a pH <2. The sam-
ples were tested in the Department of Environment and Water
Management, A.N. College, Patna using Atomic Absorption
Spectrophotometer (AAS) in the laboratory.
To study the distribution of arsenic in the village, a Land
Use /Land Cover (LU/LC) Map using National Remote Sensing
Agency (NRSA) classification was prepared in Arc GIS software
for the village to get idea of land use and settlements. Contour
map for arsenic distribution was prepared using the Surfer soft-
ware from the values of arsenic of 20 samples tested. The values
were categorized into five categories based on the BIS limits.
Theseare“Safe(<50ppb),” “High (50–100 ppb),” “Very High
(100–150 ppb),” “Severely High (150–200 ppb)” and “Extremely
High (>200ppb).” The overlay of the two maps was done to
get the vulnerability of the population drinking water from the
hand-pumps in Khap Tola.
United States Environmental Protection Agency has classified
inorganic arsenic (As) as Group A human carcinogen (U.S. EPA,
2007). The USEPA guidelines were used to estimate arsenic
intake among children of age group 5–10 years. Average Total
Dose (ATD), Chronic Daily Intake (CDI), Cancer Risk (CR)
and Hazard Quotient (HQ) were calculated (Liu et al., 2009;
Muhammad et al., 2010; Singh and Ghosh, 2012).
An open- and closed-ended questionnaire was asked to the
mothers of these children. The questionnaire included questions
like: (A) How much water do the children drink per day? (B) What
is the volume of vessel they use for drinking water? (C) What is the
number of times they drink water every day? Village people usu-
ally use a glass or a big jar (lota) to drink water. The volume of the
glass or jar varies between 500 and 1500 mL. The objective was to
know the approximate average per capita consumption of water
Convenient sampling was done from the cluster and 21 chil-
dren (10% of the total population of Khap Tola) between the age
group 5–10 years were taken for study.
All the 20 samples taken from hand-pumps tested positive for the
presence of arsenic with 100% (N=20) samples having aresnic>
10 ppb limit of WHO and 80% (N=20) of the samples having
arsenic>50 ppb limit of the BIS. The maximum value noted was
397 ppb, indicating high presence of arsenic in drinking water
hand-pumps in Khap Tola.
There was found a correlation between the arsenic values and
the depth of the hand-pump as shown in Figure 2. High values of
arsenic are usually found in the 15–35 m zone and thereafter the
values from deeper points are less.
Most of the hand-pumps in the study area are located in the
shallow aquifer zone of 15–35 m with the average depth of the
hand-pump being 22 m, thus tapping the groundwater stored
between the pore spaces of the silt and sand. Clay acts as a rel-
atively impermeable layer with low hydraulic conductivity, thus
trapping the water and forming the aquifer zones (Mukherjee
et al., 2012). Since water in the area is easily available at an aver-
age depth of 3.4 m, it is easier to dig in hand-pumps in the shallow
depths of the aquifer. In the 15–35m zone, 57% (N=14) of the
samples from the private hand-pumps have arsenic >200 ppb.
Out of the 6 samples taken from government installed commu-
nity hand-pumps, 50% had arsenic <50 ppb. The average depth
of these samples was 50 m.
This confirms the presence of high levels of arsenic in the shal-
low aquifers of this cluster. The relatively easy access to the shallow
aquifers as compared to the deeper ones through private hand-
pumps makes the population more prone to consume arsenic
contaminated water, with no alternate sources of drinking water,
as the community wells are not being used anymore.
Frontiers in Environmental Science | Environmental Health November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |2
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
FIGURE 1 | Map of study area showing the location of Khap Tola with drinking water sample locations. Khap Tola lies in Nautan block in West
Champaran district, which is shown in the map. P and G denote Private and Government hand-pumps respectively.
The GIS overlay analysis of the two maps of land use and arsenic
values is shown in Figure 3. Total area of the village is around 14
Ha and the total area affected by arsenic contamination comes out
to be around 3.5 Ha in the residential area. Thus, 25% of the area
in the village is under high risk of arsenic contamination which is
the residential area and thus people drinking groundwater from
these areas are highly vulnerable to the direct ingestion of arsenic
through drinking water. Tab le 1 gives the arsenic contamination
in the settlement of Khap Tola.
It is clear from Figure 3 that almost 50% of the samples lie in
the severely high (150–200 ppm) and extremely high (>200 ppm)
category. All these samples are private hand-pumps as indicated
by notation “P” in the figure.
The inorganic arsenic soluble in groundwater is highly toxic and
ingestion of toxic doses leads to chronic poisoning symptoms,
disturbances of cardiovascular and nervous system functions.
Long-term exposure due to drinking of Arsenic contaminated
water is related to increased risks of cancer. Children are at higher
risk of arsenic contamination.
Average total dose (ATD)
It is the product of contaminant concentration in mg/L and intake
rate of water in L:
ATD (mg)=Asw ×IR
where; Asw =Arsenic contamination of water (mg/L); IR =
Water Ingestion rate (L/day). November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |3
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
FIGURE 2 | Relation between arsenic values (ppb) and depth of
hand-pumps (m) for drinking water sample testing and analysis. 57% of
the private hand-pumps in the 15–35m zone have arsenic greater than 200
ppb. The two peaks in depth curve are from government hand-pumps
(sample number 6 and 12) having arsenic less than 50 ppb. This clearly
indicates high arsenic contamination in the shallow aquifer zone of 15–35m.
Chronic daily intake (CDI)
It is derived by dividing total dose by body weight of person by
using the formula:
CDI (mg/Kg day)=To t a l Dos e (mg)/Bodyweight (Kg)
Cancer risk (CR)
Lifetime cancer risk assessment through oral ingestion of arsenic
was estimated by the following equation:
Cancer Risk =CDI ×Potency Factor (PF)
where; PF (oral route) for arsenic is 1.5 (mg/Kg/day)1
(Established by USEPA’s Integrated Risk Information System-
4and 106,
it is believed that the cancer risk is acceptable.
The Values of ATD, CDI, CR, and HQ calculated for 21
children is shown in Tab l e 2 .
The results of CDI and CR calculated using above formulas
are shown in Figure 4, plotted with each child between 5 and 10
years taken for sample study. CDI is the chronic intake of arsenic
through drinking water among children of age group 5–10 years.
The minimum value observed for CR is 0.0043 which is much
higher than 104indicating that the CR is not acceptable. It rep-
resents high risk to children as is shown in the Cancer Risk (CR)
values indicating higher the concentration of arsenic ingested
through drinking water, higher the chances of getting cancer over
the years.
Hazard quotient (HQ or HI)
Hazard quotient or hazard index is the index of non-carcinogenic
toxicity of a substance, in this case arsenic in drinking water (unit
less). It can be calculated by the following formula:
where; RfD is the reference dose for As (mg/Kg d), i.e., 3 ×104.
A Hazard Quotient (HQ) less than 1 is considered to infer no
significance risk of non-carcinogenic effects.
The results of the hazard quotient among children age group
taken for study are shown in Figure 5. Results show that because
of the consumption of arsenic-contaminated drinking water, the
area had HQs ranging from 9 to 235 for the 21 children in the
age group 5–10 years. The lower and the upper end of the range
both are greater than 1, indicating that the children are at future
risk of cancer, and are more likely to have significant adverse
non-carcinogenic health impacts.
Arsenic contamination has been a matter of serious concern in
the last three decades. Since the first reported case of arsenic
in India in 1983 in West Bengal, there has been a lot of
research carried out in India and Bangladesh by different scien-
tists and national/international agencies. In Bihar, the first case
was reported in 2002 in Semria Ojha Patti village in Bhojpur
district (Mukherjee et al., 2006). The Ganga belt corridor has
been a focus area of the state government and Public Health and
Engineering Department (PHED) for various mitigation mea-
sures. As part of studying the arsenic contamination, one of the
blocks, named Nautan was selected. After initial sampling from
6 panchayats and analysis at department of Earth Sciences, IIT
Mumbai, suggested that one of the villages Khap Tola had a
high arsenic contamination with 3 samples having arsenic greater
Frontiers in Environmental Science | Environmental Health November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |4
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
FIGURE 3 | GIS Overlay analysis of arsenic distribution in Khap Tola. The results show that maximum area of settlements 1.6 Hectares lies in the
Extremely High (>200 ppb) zone indicating high arsenic toxicity in hand-pumps used for drinking water.
than 50 ppb, which was 40 times more than the WHO pre-
scribed limits of 10 ppb. Analysis of samples from drinking
water hand-pumps in the study area, revealed that more than
50% of the hand-pumps having arsenic greater than 200 ppb
were private owned and lying in the shallow aquifer zone of
15–35 m. This finding is similar to other studies in West Bengal
and Bangladesh (Smith et al., 2003; Ahmed et al., 2011). Though
the government installed hand-pumps for people to get clean
pathogen-free drinking water, it had a disadvantage of subjecting
the population to arsenic contaminated water. Further as the shal-
low hand-pumps were cheaper, many households installed these
hand-pumps in their homes. Since these hand-pumps are the
exclusive and only source of drinking water for the population,
the problem has been magnified. This has been reflected in pre-
vious studies in similar areas (Frisbie et al., 2002; Ahmed and
Halder, 2011).
The population in the village is under high risk which was
calculated using the GIS overlay technique. Spatial distribution
of arsenic is an important indicator for calculating the vulner-
ability of population exposed to arsenic in drinking water. GIS
studies have been used for mapping the arsenic contamination
in India and Bangladesh (Shams and Rahman, 2010; Buragohain
and Sarma, 2012). Also since children are the most vulnerable
group as has been shown by various studies (Smith et al., 2006;
Mazumder, 2007) and due to poor nutrition and socio-economic
conditions in the village, focus was on children age group 5–10 November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |5
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
years in the study. Using USEPA guidelines, it was estimated that
children are under high risk of developing significant carcino-
genic and non-carcinogenic effects. They are under risk from
arsenic toxicity due to the higher arsenic consumption in children
on a body-weight basis as was seen in this study of 21 children
between 5 and 10 years with the average daily intake value of
0.03 mg/kg/day far greater than the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI)
of 0.001mg/kg/day given by the report on human-toxicological
maximum permissible risk levels (Baars et al., 2001). This has
been confirmed in a study where almost 90% of the children less
than 11 years, living in arsenic affected villages in West Bengal
have shown elevated levels of arsenic in hair and nails (Mukherjee
et al., 2006). There is no known treatment available for arsenic
related diseases (Smith et al., 2000; Jakariya et al., 2003)anddue
to lack of medical facilities and health experts in the village, the
only way to avoid arsenic exposure is by providing safe drinking
water. However, the first priority still remains in identifying the
contaminated water sources in rural villages, especially the remote
Table 1 | Area under arsenic contamination (in Hectares) in Khap Tola.
S. No. Category Area (Ha)
1 Arsenic below the BIS limit (<50 ppb) 0.03
2 High contamination of arsenic (50–100 ppb) in the
residential area
3 Very high contamination of arsenic (100–150 ppb)
in the residential area
4 Severely high contamination of arsenic (150–200
ppb) in the residential area
5 Extremely high contamination of arsenic (>200
ppb) in the residential area
1. 5 9
areas where people are forced to drink arsenic contaminated
This study will be useful to initiate the process of further sci-
entific testing and analysis of drinking water samples in West
Champaran district thereby putting it in the arsenic affected
regions of Bihar which has not yet been done by the PHED, Bihar
as seen on their web portal of water quality (http://phed.bih.nic.
Further geochemical analysis and health assessment is needed
in West Champaran area to study the arsenic release mech-
anism so that interventions to reduce contamination and
the public health effects of arsenic contamination in the
resource-limited and low socio-economic setting. Making peo-
ple aware of the carcinogenic effects of arsenic remains
the top priority in the villages; and there are organizations
like the Megh Pyne Abhyian (MPA), an NGO which raises
awareness about arsenic contamination among residents of
North Bihar.
This study attempts to highlight the attention of various
stakeholders and the government to the poor villages of West
Champaran district for providing safe drinking water to the res-
idents. Further research is needed in the vulnerable population
groups of children and pregnant mothers to determine the Public
Health effects of consuming arsenic contaminated water over the
First of all, we would like to thank Mr. Eklavya Prasad, man-
aging Trustee of Megh Pyne Abhiyan, Bihar, for giving his full
support and time to carry out this research. He has always
shown faith for pursuing this research. We would also like to
Table 2 | Values of ATD, CDI, CR and HQ calculated for 21 children between 5 and 10 years in Khap Tola.
Child Age Sex Wt Kg WC L/day As ppb ATD mg/day CDI mg/kg-day Cancer Risk (CR) HQ
1 5 M 11 2 171 0.3420 0.031 0.047 104
2 6 M 12 2.5 171 0.4275 0.035 0.053 119
3 10 M 22 2.5 25 0.0625 0.002 0.004 9
4 6 M 16 2 257 0.5140 0.032 0.048 107
5 7 M 21 1.5 177 0.2655 0.012 0.019 42
6 5 F 10 2 257 0.5140 0.051 0.077 171
7 6 F 11 1 41 0.0410 0.003 0.006 12
8 5 F 10 1 56 0.0560 0.005 0.008 19
9 7 M 15 2 111 0.2220 0.014 0.022 49
10 10 M 25 3 154 0.4620 0.018 0.028 62
11 8 M 16 4 37 0.1480 0.009 0.014 31
12 9 M 23 3 221 0.6630 0.028 0.043 96
13 7 F 10 2.5 282 0.7050 0.070 0.106 235
14 6 M 8 2 282 0.5640 0.070 0.106 235
15 8 F 18 2 397 0.7940 0.044 0.066 147
16 5 F 10 2 257 0.5140 0.051 0.077 171
17 7 M 10 2 214 0.4280 0.042 0.064 143
18 9 M 12 2 214 0.4280 0.035 0.054 119
19 5 M 12 1 133 0.1330 0.011 0.017 37
20 6 M 16 2 344 0.6880 0.043 0.065 143
21 9 F 18 2 344 0.6880 0.038 0.057 127
Frontiers in Environmental Science | Environmental Health November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |6
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
FIGURE 4 | Chronic daily intake (mg/Kg-day) and cancer risk among children age group 5–10 years in Khap Tola. Higher the concentration of arsenic
ingested through drinking water, higher the chances of getting cancer over the years.
FIGURE 5 | Hazard Quotient (HQ) among children age group 5–10 years in Khap Tola. The HQ range of 9–235 is both greater than 1, indicating that
children might confront more significant adverse non-carcinogenic health impacts.
thank Dr. Nobhojit Roy, Environmental Health Resource Hub
(EHRH), TISS, Mumbai and Elizabeth Weber of EHRH project
for their support for writing down this paper and carrying on
this study. We would also like to thank Dr. D. Chandrasekharam,
Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, IIT, Mumbai, for giving
us the valuable opportunity to work with him for our analy-
sis at IIT. We would like to thank Dr. Ashok Ghosh, Professor
In-charge at Dept. of Environment and Water Management;
A.N. College, Patna for his belief in the research and thus
accepting our request for testing samples at laboratory of A.N.
College, Patna. His research work on arsenic and published
papers, were a great help in developing a scientific approach
toward the research. The research paper will remain incom-
plete without the mention of two very important persons Mr.
Vinay Kumar and Mr. Raj Kishore, Water Action NGO, West
Champaran, who have helped us during our field visits and
it is because of their enthusiasm and energy that the field
sampling and interaction with the community was done in a
smooth way. They have always been supportive arranging for
our stay, food, and transportation in one of the remotest areas
of Bihar. Their contribution is immense in bringing out this
research paper. November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |7
Bhatia et al. Arsenic contamination in Khap Tola, Bihar
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Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors declare that the research was con-
ducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be
construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Received: 09 July 2014; accepted: 03 November 2014; published online: 20 November
Citation: Bhatia S, Balamurugan G and Baranwal A (2014) High arsenic contami-
nation in drinking water hand-pumps in Khap Tola, West Champaran, Bihar, India.
Front. Environ. Sci. 2:49. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2014.00049
This article was submitted to Environmental Health, a section of the journal Frontiers
in Environmental Science.
Copyright © 2014 Bhatia, Balamurugan and Baranwal. This is an open-access
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Frontiers in Environmental Science | Environmental Health November 2014 | Volume 2 | Article 49 |8
... Water sample data of two other blocks, namely Taljhari and Pathna block have less arsenic concentration but tube wells of these places would require monitoring to prevent from arsenic contamination and its impact. Bhatia et al. (2014) carried out evaluation of drinking water in Khap Tola village of Bihar. The main aim was to examine hand pump drinking water and to collect data of arsenic contamination. ...
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Groundwater pollution of arsenic and fluoride is a serious issue; it has gained a serious amount of consideration in the previous few years and the researchers are working towards various ways to control the pollution. They have got such great attention because of their ability, aggregation in the human body and toxicity. Fluoride and arsenic enter the drinking water resources through different sources. These contaminants also have an ill effect on the agriculture sector of the country as they pollute the soil and the crops. Human body is sensitive to arsenic. Arsenic gets into the body through arsenic-contaminated . As per BIS Standards the acceptable limit of Arsenic is 0.01 mg/l (ppm) or 10 µg/L (ppb) for water. In crops of wheat and paddy root, stem, leaf and grain contamination of arsenic was present. In some crops like wheat and paddy their roots have the highest arsenic concentration of 4.82 mg/kg and 40.3 mg/kg, respectively. WHO allowable limit is 1.0 mg/kg. The allowable limit of arsenic in water used for agricultural purposes is 0.10 mg/l as given by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). Many technologies based on adsorption, membrane process, oxidation, ion exchange and co precipitation are developed and used for the expulsion of arsenic from polluted water; creative innovations for the expulsion of arsenic from groundwater like phytoremediation, biological treatment, permeable reactive barriers and electro kinetic treatment are likewise being utilized to treat arsenic-contaminated water. These advances might be applied at full scale to treat arsenic-defiled springs. For the case of Fluoride it was observed that the majority of the states in India have crossed the permissible limitExcess fluoride in the drinking resources leads to fluorosis which does not have a cure.
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The most alarming part of inorganic arsenic contamination is its silent killing ability which has an adverse impact on human society. Anthropogenic activities trigger threat from bio-physical to social vulnerability. The Ganga-Meghna-Brahmaputra (GMB) basin has been the worst sufferer for the last four decades. This review paper tries to focus on the impacts and consequences of arsenic calamity, assessment of the risk through Geographical Information System (GIS) and a feasible way-out involving rain water harvesting (RWH) with special reference to India. Arsenic poisoning creates a huge burden for rural people. Identification of various dimensions of arsenic coverage has been a difficult task which made GIS an important tool for the assessment of social vulnerability. However, the rural Indian mass is yet to become fully aware of the severity of the arsenic-related risk. They are still consuming the poison through drinking water for the last four decades without even knowing the treatment protocols. RWH is one of the easy way-outs to combat the situation of the arsenic risk, especially for the poor socio-economic rural households. Thus, to prevent further damages, awareness creation, proper medical care with due endeavours from national and international levels are required.
The groundwater contamination with arsenic and fluoride has threatened the well-being of a vast number of people worldwide. Countries of South-East Asia, including Bangladesh, China, and India, are severely affected. In India, people residing in the middle and lower Gangetic planes and some Central and South-India areas characterized by hard rock terrain are worse affected by arsenic and fluoride contamination. These contaminants are introduced into groundwater through multiple sources, including both natural and anthropogenic sources. The last three decades have witnessed a vast amount of literature published on the concerned issues. This review analyzes the work-done on arsenic and fluoride contamination in the groundwater. It includes studies about the occurrence, co-occurrence, dissolution, and health effect. Mechanisms related to mobilization, toxicity, and removal techniques were also studied. Release mechanisms such as reductive dissolution, oxidation of sulfide minerals, alkali desorption, geothermal activity, contact time, and aqueous ionic concentrations were also discussed in detail, along with the mitigation techniques of arsenic and fluoride like adsorption, ion-exchange, biological methods, coagulation, and precipitation methods.
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Arsenic (As) is a toxic metalloid classified as group 1 carcinogen. The presence of As in high concentrations in paddy soil and irrigation water results into high As accumulation in rice grains posing a threat to the health of millions of people worldwide. The main reason for As contamination is the biogeochemical weathering of rocks and the release of bound As into groundwater. Human interventions through intensive agricultural practices and excessive groundwater consumption have contributed greatly to the prevailing As contamination. The flooded cultivation practice of rice favors the accumulation of As in rice grains. The formation of iron (Fe) plaque on paddy root surfaces, changes in the level of Fe and manganese (Mn) hydro(oxides), soil organic matter, soil pH, soil redox potential, and microbial activities under flooding conditions influence concentrations of various As species in the water–soil–paddy agroecosystem and favor the predominance of highly mobile arsenite [As(III)]. Once inside the rice plant, the concentration of As is regulated by arsenate reduction, arsenite efflux, root-to-shoot translocation, and vacuolar sequestration of As. The detailed understanding gained about the factors affecting As dynamics in soil and transport in rice plants may be helpful in developing feasible methods for sustainable cultivation of rice plants with low grain As. There is also need to ensure high production yields as well as grain quality to achieve the goals of sustainable development. This article discusses the aspects of As in the water–soil–paddy agroecosystem and presents suitable strategies to reduce the As load in rice grains.
The case study attempts to capture the community’s perspective and understanding of arsenic contamination in the high arsenic areas of West Bengal and Assam in India. It tries to articulate the community’s everyday experiences living with this slow poison and present the mechanisms through which they adapt and cope with the problem of iron- and arsenic-rich water. Following an anthropological approach, the study tries to capture the natural, human, social, manufactured and financial capitals of sustainable development within the cultural context of the communities. The study employed mainly participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) techniques to capture people’s understanding of the toxic impact of groundwater arsenic poisoning on their social lives. In the context of their near-complete dependence on groundwater for their daily consumption and the ‘choicelessness’ in tackling the contamination, the communities were also probed on the ‘ability to pay’ for mitigation technologies. The governments of West Bengal and Assam have been involved in the identification of the affected areas and implementation of medium- and long-term mitigation measures. In keeping with the multi-sectoral synergy espoused in the National Policy on Disaster Management 2009 for disaster mitigation, different educational institutions, scientists, NGOs and INGOs have also come together to raise awareness on the issue. But the state efforts remain grossly inadequate in tackling this slow-onset disaster which has assumed monstrous proportions. Therefore, it is imperative that arsenic contamination is brought under the ambit of disaster management as a slow-onset disaster, and that subsequent institutional and financial arrangements are put in place for its effective mitigation.
Arsenic contamination in groundwater is the most hazardous event in the world affecting the human civilization in last 40 years. The presence of arsenic in drinking water is carcinogenic, and the main exposure path is through ingestion of arsenic-contaminated water and food. Parts of the state of West Bengal in India are under arsenic contamination for quite some time. The arsenic concentration in groundwater of West Bengal varies from 0.001 to 3.70 mg/l, at many places which is in large excess over the World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water permissible limit of 0.01 mg/L. West Bengal noticed inconsistently dispersed arsenic-rich pockets in sub-urban and rural south Bengal. A large number of primary and secondary schools situated in the arsenic-contaminated areas which depend on groundwater as their major water resource are badly hit by the excess arsenic concentration. As a social outreach initiative, the school-going children in India are provided with midday meal in the school aiming at enhancing their nutritional level. But in arsenic-infested areas, the raw water used for cooking such is also arsenic-contaminated, thus turning a positive initiative into hidden health hazard as the children become strongly exposed to possible arsenic contamination through water and food. Extended exposure of contaminated water may develop lifelong reduction of memory, intelligence quotient (IQ), and these can guide to expand school failure, lessened financial success and increased probability of social deterioration offence. This problem is now leading towards a social catastrophe. This study has used GIS platform to develop a hazard-level map of arsenic-affected areas by taking the arsenic concentration at village-level water sources and their geographical location as input. One block, named Baruipur, of the district of South 24 Parganas of the state of West Bengal, India, which is among the gravest arsenic-infected areas, was considered for this study.
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This paper first reviews the arsenic nature, and its mobilization in environment. Arsenic is a significant element of earth crust and also in a human body. General sources of arsenic are air, food, cigarette smoke and beverages. Being soluble in water it exists in ionic forms and affects the humans who consume arsenic contaminated water. Its effects are severe and long lasting. Pakistan is one of those countries where most of the ground water is contaminated with arsenic. Different organizations such as World Health Organization, International Agency for Research in Oncology & International Agency for Research in Cancer and the United States Environmental Protection Agency has set up the maximum permissible value of arsenic in drinking water for various countries. IARC has ranked arsenic a group 1 human carcinogen which causes lung, bladder and urinary cancers. In Punjab (Pakistan) 20% of population is exposed to over 10 g/L in drinking water and 3% of population is exposed to over 50 g/L and in Sindh 36% of population is exposed to arsenic via drinking water. In Punjab and Sindh drinking water is contaminated with arsenic above the permissible value defined by World Health Organization (WHO), while KPK is less affected. Baluchistan is almost safe from arsenicism.
Mesoporous pellet adsorbent developed from mixing at an appropriate ratio of natural clay, iron oxide, iron powder, and rice bran was used to investigate the optimization process of batch adsorption parameters for treating aqueous solution coexisting with arsenate and arsenite. Central composite design under response surface methodology was applied for optimizing and observing both individual and interactive effects of four main influential adsorption factors such as contact time (24-72 h), initial solution pH (3-11), adsorbent dosage (0-20 g/L) and initial adsorbate concentration (0.25-4.25 mg/L). Analysis of variance suggested that experimental data were better fitted by the quadratic model with the values of regression coefficient and adjusted regression coefficient higher than 95%. The model accuracy was supported by the correlation plot of actual and predicted adsorption efficiency data and the residual plots. The Pareto analysis suggested that initial solution pH, initial adsorbate concentration, and adsorbent dosage had greater cumulative effects on the removal system by contributing the percentage effect of 47.69%, 37.07% and 14.26%, respectively. The optimum values of contact time, initial solution pH, adsorbent dosage and initial adsorbate concentration were 52 h, 7, 10 g/L and 0.5 mg/L, respectively. The adsorption efficiency of coexisting arsenate and arsenite solution onto the new developed adsorbent was over 99% under the optimized experimental condition.
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People living in diara villages within the embankments of the River Gandak in Bihar face high levels of vulnerability due to frequent flooding and droughts. Using anthropological surveys, gendered vulnerabilities in four diara villages in West Champaran are explored. Such vulnerability, in the context of a changing climate, combines social, political, and economic dimensions: The patriarchal creation of gender norms and biases; unequal access to water, sanitation, credit, and public distribution services; and limited employment opportunities. These elements influence the livelihood options of women and men differently, determining their capability in responding to risks posed by climatic and socio-economic stressors.
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Sustainable community-based safe water options have been successfully operating in two upazilas involving 531 villages and encompassing a population of 497,488. Testing of tubewells for arsenic was carried out on a census basis by trained village health workers (VHWs) using the Merck field-testing kit. A total of 51,685 tubewells were tested and further verified both in the field and laboratory. VHWs initially identified suspected arsenicosis patients who were later confirmed by physicians. A total of 403 patients were identified. The prevalence rates of arsenicosis were 106/10,000 in Sonargoan and 57/19,000 in Jhikargachha upazilas. The average age of the patients was 36 and 30 years respectively and the majority belong to the 15-45 years age group. There has been close community involvement at all stages of implementation of the arsenic-free safe water options adapted from various sources, giving preference to the community-based options to ensure local participation and utilize knowledge. Potential sources of arsenic-free drinking water were identified. To ensure sustainable use provided options were assessed based on community acceptability, technical viability, and financial viability. The key to the success of the project has been the combination of close integration with the community at all stages and appropriate technical solutions.
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The purpose of this paper is to propose a methodology to analyze the health effects, how people cope with the socioeconomic consequences of the disease and to predict the beneficial effects of various alternative mitigation methods and recommends governmental measures for prevention of Arsenic poisoning. This research has been evaluated by the Bangladeshi Health Care system for its ability to recognize, isolate, report and control cases of Arsenic. The statistics is provided through the latest Internet publications, literature on global and regional information on environment, and using the database of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2004. This research attempted to analyze how other international agencies are trying to prevent Arsenic in their countries, where the people are affected or infected by Arsenic. As preventive measures, surface water treatment including drinking or taking water from the pond, various educational program, support of Government and NGOs, using media materials and Pan American Center for Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences (CEPIS) in Peru, called ALUFLOC and Danida and Water Aid developed technologies to remove Arsenic were mentioned.
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The elevated arsenic (As) content of groundwater from wells across Bangladesh and several other South Asian countries is estimated to slowly poison at least 100 million people. The heterogeneous distribution of dissolved arsenic in the subsurface complicates understanding of its release from the sediment matrix into the groundwater, as well as the design of mitigation strategies. Using the tritium-helium (3H/3He) groundwater dating technique, we show that there is a linear correlation between groundwater age at depths
The contamination of groundwater by arsenic in Bangladesh is the largest poisoning of a population in history, with millions of people exposed. This paper describes the history of the discovery of arsenic in drinking-water in Bangladesh and recommends intervention strategies. Tube-wells were installed to provide "pure water" to prevent morbidity and mortality from gastrointestinal disease. The water from the millions of tube-wells that were installed was not tested for arsenic contamination. Studies in other countries where the population has had long-term exposure to arsenic in groundwater indicate that 1 in 10 people who drink water containing 500 mu g of arsenic per litre may ultimately die from cancers caused by arsenic, including lung, bladder and skin cancers. The rapid allocation of funding and prompt expansion of current interventions to address this contamination should be facilitated. The fundamental intervention is the identification and provision of arsenic-free drinking water. Arsenic is rapidly excreted in urine, and for early or mild cases, no specific treatment is required. Community education and participation are essential to ensure that interventions are successful; these should be coupled with follow-up monitoring to confirm that exposure has ended. Taken together with the discovery of arsenic in groundwater in other countries, the experience in Bangladesh shows that groundwater sources throughout the world that are used for drinking-water should be tested for arsenic.
The groundwater arsenic problem has raised wide spread concerns in different parts of the world and results reported by various agencies is alarming. The latest WHO evaluation concludes that arsenic exposure via drinking water is causally related to cancer in the lungs, kidney, bladder and skin, the last of which is preceded by directly observable precancerous lesions. The elevated level of arsenic in groundwater is a new public concern in rural district like Dhemaji. In this study forty water samples representing the study area were collected from five development blocks of Dhemaji districts over a period of three years from 2007 to 2010 and analyzed for arsenic by using AAS. Spatial distribution maps for arsenic in different seasons were prepared using curve fitting method in Arc View GIS software. It may be seen from our results that most of the groundwater samples of the study area were found unsafe with regard to arsenic.
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Information on groundwater chemistry in the central Ganges basin can provide insights into recharge, provenance, and fate of solutes in arsenic (As)-affected areas upstream of the more intensively studied Bengal basin. The geological and geo-morphological units of the region are much more discernible than the Bengal basin aquifers. Moreover, the region is less affected by groundwater abstraction, which complicates interpretation of As distributions in the Bengal basin. The study area extends from the northern edge of the Indian craton outcrops to the foothills of the Himalayas. Geologic units in the area can be broadly classified as pre-Cenozoic metamorphics and volcanics (PC), older alluvial deposits of the Ganges and its tribu-taries (OA), younger or active alluvial deposits of the Ganges and its tributaries in the basin (YA), and sediments of the Hima-layan foothills (piedmont, PD). Stable-isotopic analyses indicate groundwater in these units has been recharged by meteoric or surface water that has generally undergone some evaporation. The hydrochemical facies is generally a Ca–HCO 3 type. While most of the solutes in the YA groundwater are derived from carbonate dissolution, many of the PD, PC and OA groundwater samples are influenced by silicate weathering, suggesting that leaching of metamorphics and volcanics acts as a major source of solutes. Redox conditions are highly spatially variable (oxic to methanic, dominated by metal reduction), with no system-atic depth variation within sampled aquifers. More than 75% of YA and PD groundwater samples have As P 0.01 mg/L, but As was detected in only one OA sample and no PC samples. Arsenic is probably mobilized by reductive dissolution of Fe–Mn (oxyhydr)oxides in the alluvium, with possibility of competitive anionic mobilization. Hence, relative to the Bengal basin, in addition to lower groundwater abstraction influence, groundwater chemistry in the study area reflects a greater variety of dif-ferences in the geological and geomorphological settings of the aquifers.
Health risk assessment due to groundwater As contamination was conducted in two As-prone panchayats, Rampur Diara (RD) and Haldichapra (HC) of the Maner block of the Patna district, Bihar (India). All 100% of the water samples surveyed were found to be contaminated with As with a mean value of 52 μg/L (n = 10) in RD and 231 μg/L (n = 10) in HC, both exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline of 10 μg/L and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standard of 50 μg/L, respectively. The average calculated per capita consumption of As through drinking water in RD ranged from 120 μg/day for 5–10-year-old children to 320 μg/day for adults older than 41 years, while in HC the average calculated As through consumption ranged from 580 μg/day for 5–10-year-old children to 1470 μg/day for adults older than 41 years. Hazard quotients were calculated to be between 12.1 to 41.6 for the RD population and 58.3 to 192.5 for theHC population, both exceeding the typical toxic risk index 1. In addition, cancer risk of 19 per 1000 was found for RD children and 87 per 1000 for HC children. Visible symptoms of Arsenicosis were also observed in the area.