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Arsenic poisoning through groundwater is the world’s greatest normal groundwater catastrophe which got an immense effect on worldwide general wellbeing. India is confronting the outcomes of arsenic poisoning in the zone of Ganga Brahmaputra alluvial plains. In Bihar, out of 38 districts, 18 districts are exceptionally influenced with groundwater arsenic defilement. In the present study, we have assessed the current situation of arsenic exposure in Sabalpur village of Saran district of Bihar after reporting of breast, renal, skin and thyroid cancer cases from this village along with typical symptoms of arsenicosis. Such cancer patients were identified at our institute and were taken for the study. The present investigation deals with the quantification of arsenic in groundwater, hair and nail samples of subjects as well as the survey of entire village to know the overall health status of the village people. A total of n=128 household handpump water samples as well as n=128 human hair and nail samples were collected from over n=520 households. Using the graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometer (GF-AAS), all the samples were analysed. The investigation resulted that the 61% of the analysed samples particularly the groundwater had the arsenic levels more than the permissible limit of WHO (> 10 μg/L) with 244.20 μg/L as the highest arsenic contamination in one of the handpump water sample. The exposure effect of hair sample was worst as 88% of all the collected samples were having high arsenic levels more than the permissible limit (> 0.2 mg/Kg). In case of nail samples, 92% of the samples were having high arsenic concentration more than the permissible limit (> 0.5 mg/Kg). The health survey study revealed high magnitude of disease burden in the exposed population with symptoms such as asthma, anaemia, hepatomegaly, diabetes, cardiac problem, skin fungal infections, breathlessness and mental disability. Few cancer cases of renal, skin, breast and cervix were also found among the exposed population of this village. The percentage of cancer cases in this village was 0.94% that was low, but it would be an aggravated situation in the near future if people will continue drinking arsenic-contaminated water. Therefore, a mitigation intervention was carried out in March 2020 by installing an arsenic filter plant. The health situation in the village in the present scenario is hope to improve in the coming years. However, motivation and awareness among the village population are still required.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Assessment of arsenic exposure in the population of Sabalpur village
of Saran District of Bihar with mitigation approach
Arun Kumar
1
&Rishav Kumar
1
&Md. Samiur Rahman
2
&Mohammad Ali
1
&Ranjit Kumar
3
&Neha Nupur
1
&
Aman Gaurav
1
&Vikram Raj
1
&Gautam Anand
1
&Pintoo Kumar Niraj
1
&Nirmal Kumar
1
&Abhinav Srivastava
1
&
Akhouri Biswapriya
4
&Gyanendra Bahadur Chand
5
&Dhruv Kumar
6
&Tuhin Rashmi
6
&Santosh Kumar
7
&
Maiko Sakamoto
8
&Ashok Kumar Ghosh
1
Received: 22 January 2021 /Accepted: 15 March 2021
#The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021
Abstract
Arsenic poisoning through groundwater is the worlds greatest normal groundwater catastrophe which got an immense effect on
worldwide general wellbeing. India is confronting the outcomes of arsenic poisoning in the zone of Ganga Brahmaputra alluvial plains.
In Bihar, out of 38 districts, 18 districts are exceptionally influenced with groundwater arsenic defilement. In the present study, we have
assessed the current situation of arsenic exposure in Sabalpur village of Saran district of Bihar after reporting of breast, renal, skin and
thyroid cancer cases from this village along with typical symptoms of arsenicosis. Such cancer patients were identified at our institute
and were taken for the study. The present investigation deals with the quantification of arsenic in groundwater, hair and nail
samples of subjects as well as the survey of entire village to know the overall health status of the village people. A total of n=128
household handpump water samples as well as n=128 human hair and nail samples were collected from over n=520 households. Using
the graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometer (GF-AAS), all the samples were analysed. The investigation resulted that the
61% of the analysed samples particularly the groundwater had the arsenic levels more than the permissible limit of WHO (> 10 μg/L)
with 244.20 μg/L as the highest arsenic contamination in one of the handpump water sample. The exposure effect of hair sample was
worst as 88% of all the collected samples were having high arsenic levels more than the permissible limit (> 0.2 mg/Kg). In case of nail
samples, 92% of the samples were having high arsenic concentration more than the permissible limit (> 0.5 mg/Kg). The health survey
study revealed high magnitude of disease burden in the exposed population with symptoms such as asthma, anaemia, hepatomegaly,
diabetes, cardiac problem, skin fungal infections, breathlessness and mental disability. Few cancer cases of renal, skin, breast and
cervix were also found among the exposed population of this village. The percentage of cancer cases in this village was 0.94% that was
low, but it would be an aggravated situation in the near future if people will continue drinking arsenic-contaminated water. Therefore, a
mitigation intervention was carried out in March 2020 by installing an arsenic filter plant. The health situation in the village in the
present scenario is hope to improve in the coming years. However, motivation and awareness among the village population are still
required.
Keywords Arsenicosis .Health assessment .Cancer .Groundwater contamination .Sabalpur (Bihar)
Responsible Editor: Lotfi Aleya
*Arun Kumar
drarunk31@gmail.com
1
Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre, Phulwarisharif,
Patna, Bihar 801505, India
2
Department of Biotechnology, Anugrah Narayan College,
Patna, Bihar, India
3
Department of Animal Sciences, Central University of Himachal
Pradesh, Pradesh, India
4
Geological Survey of India, Patna, Bihar, India
5
Department of Zoology, Patna University, Patna, Bihar, India
6
Department of Biotechnology, Amity University, Noida, Uttar
Pradesh, India
7
Department of Applied Geoscience and Engineering, Delft
University of Technology|, Delft, The Netherlands
8
Department of International Studies, Graduate School of Frontier
Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa,
Chiba 2778563, Japan
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-13521-5
Introduction
Groundwater arsenic pollution is arising as a significant eco-
logical and human wellbeing catastrophe in the recent times
(Bhattacharya et al. 2007; Chakraborti et al. 2004; Kapaj et al.
2006). It is assumed that more than 200 million population are
exposed to high arsenic level (>10 μg/L) through drinking
water (Argos et al. 2012) and around 13 regions of world
are enormously affected by high arsenic level in groundwater
aquifers (Kinniburgh and Kosmus 2002). Drinking water is
viewed as one of the root cause of inorganic arsenic contam-
ination (Mudhoo et al. 2011; National Research Council
2001). In Asia, India and Bangladesh are the major affected
nations from groundwater arsenic poisoning. Arsenic poison-
ing is representing an incredible health hazards among indi-
viduals living in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) flu-
vial plains (Singh et al. 2014). In India, Assam, West Bengal,
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the states which are highly affect-
ed by the groundwater arsenic contamination. The Himalayan
originated river plains are generally severely affected from
groundwater arsenic poisoning in the Asian subcontinent.
Populace living close to these plain regions are presented to
arsenic causing health-related issues like keratosis, melanosis,
skin disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders and even cancer ma-
lignancy (Acharya et al. 1999; Chakraborti et al. 2002;
Ahamed et al. 2006; Yunus et al. 2016).
A long-term arsenic exposure results in the accumulation
of arsenic in keratinized tissues and also results in other skin
manifestations (Shankar et al. 2014). Human hair and nail are
the best biomarkers as they reflect the long-term exposure of
metals. The arsenic contamination in hairs and nails reflects
the mean arsenic exposure impact in the human body that is
during a time duration of 25 months for hair and 1218
months for nail (Nowak and Kozlowski 1998; Yoshinaga
et al. 1990). They are considered as the arsenic exposure bio-
markers and henceforth are generally usedto assess the impact
of natural arsenic on humans (Agahian et al. 1990;Schegel-
Zawadzka 1992; Nowak 1993; Das et al. 1995; Chaudary
et al. 1995; Samanta et al. 2007; Gault et al. 2008; Slotnick
et al. 2008).
Bihar is the second most arsenic-contaminated state in
India. It is divided into 38 districts, out of which 18 districts
are exposed to groundwater arsenic pollution. The 15 districts
are located in the vicinity of the of the river Ganga basin. It is
expected that a populace of around 10 million are drinking
arsenic-contaminated water with concentration more than 50
μg/L (Saha 2009; Singh et al. 2014). In 2002, groundwater
arsenic poisoning was first reported in Barisban and Semaria
Ojhapatti in the Bhojpur district of Bihar in the middle Ganga
plain region (Chakraborti et al. 2003). Arsenic poisoning in
these villages prompted numerous wellbeing perils in the pop-
ulace, and numerous individuals exhibited severe symptoms
of arsenicosis. Recent investigation on arsenic poisoning in
Buxar district showed serious health hazards in the exposed
population, where most extreme groundwater arsenic contam-
ination recorded was 1929 μg/L (Kumar et al. 2016a). In this
village, the highest blood arsenic contamination recorded was
664.7 μg/L which is accounted for to be the most elevated till
date in the state (Kumar et al. 2016b), lamentably that is the
direst outcome imaginable. A critical Indian populace is as yet
influenced with arsenicosis symptoms such as diabetes, hy-
pertension, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, stomachache, breath-
lessness, hormonal disorders, mental disability and cancer ma-
lignancy (Kumar et al. 2015,2016a,2019,2020; Rahman
et al. 2019a,b; Abhinav et al. 2016; Haque et al. 2003).
Sabalpur village of Sonepur block of Saran district was
undertaken for the present study, when patients from this vil-
lage were accounted for with instances of renal disease and
squamous cell carcinoma of skin in our organization. The
current study deals with the entire survey of the village along
with groundwater, hair and nail arsenic assessment, and spe-
cial emphasis was taken to know about the wellbeing status of
the arsenic exposed population.
Materials and methods
Ethical approval
For the present study, ethical approval was obtained from the
Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) of Mahavir Cancer
Sansthan & Research Centre with IEC No. MCS/Research/
2015-16/2416, dated 24/08/2016 (agenda no.15).
Location
The present study was undertaken at Sabalpur village (east) of
Sonepur block, Saran district, Bihar, India (25°40'37.4"N
85°10'48.0"E). The village is situated at the confluence of
river Ganga and river Gandak (Fig. 1), and many of the cancer
patients reported from this village with the symptoms of
arsenicosis in our institute for the treatment. This initiated us
to carry out an extensive survey in this particular village. This
village is flood prone region of river Ganga and Gandak. The
population of the village Sabalpur was approximately n=8006
with male population n=4802 and female population n=3204
(Census 2011). There were approximately n=520 households
(Census 2011) in the village.
Sample size
The total households in the village was n=520, and we con-
ducted the study in the 25% (n= 128) households. The village
households were so closely associated with each other that
ones house handpump distance with others was merely less
than 10 m. Hence, it was decided to collect the handpump
Environ Sci Pollut Res
water from the household after every 50 m of the distance.
At the 10 m of the distance, there was no significant change
observed in the handpumps arsenic-contamination in water.
This calculation of the household study was conducted in the
entire village. The study also included the collection of hair
and nail samples of any one volunteer from each household
(sample size, n=128).
Arsenic analysis
The water samples were collected in 500-ml polypropylene
bottles that were altogether cleaned with distilled water and
pre-treated with 2% hydrochloric acid. Altogether, n=128 sam-
ples of water were randomly collected in duplicates from
handpumps of every household situated at each 5070 m dis-
tance in the village. The details of the handpumps such as
depths were recorded after the data accumulated from the
handpump proprietors and were used for the factual relationship
concentrate with arsenic. The hair and nail samples of 128
subjects (selected one member from each studied household)
were collected in the zipper polythene packs and prepared for
arsenic assessment according to the protocol of (NIOSH 1994)
and processed through graphite furnace atomic absorption spec-
trophotometer (Pinnacle 900 T, Perkin Elmer, Singapore) at
Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre, Patna, Bihar.
Health survey
The health survey was conducted in all the n=520 households of
the village with at least one member from each household.
However, the household members having symptoms of
arsenicosis were interviewed extensively. Hence, altogether
n=637 subjects of the village were interviewed. The health sur-
vey of the populace was conducted through the inputs provided
by the household members via the questionnaire proforma. The
interview consisted of recording of the data related to the age,
sex, number of members in the family, number of children,
health-related problems, age of the family members suffering
from any disease and photo of the diseased person. Moreover,
other questions were also interrogated related to their water
sources like handpumps age, depth of the handpump and dura-
tion of usage of contaminated water . Utilizing the handheld
Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers (Garmin etrex10,
USA), the exact location of the handpump was determined with
an estimated accuracy of 10 m.
Statistical analysis
Utilizing the statistical softwareGraphPad Prism5, all the data
were analysed with and values expressed as mean ± SEM.
Through one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), differences
between the groups were statistically analysed by using the
Dunnetts test, while scattered graphs were plotted through
another statistical software IBM SPSS-25.0 using linear re-
gression analysis.
GIS analysis
GPS coordinates were overlaid using QGIS software (version
3.10.1-A Coruna), shape file was created, and Google map
was used as base map. Groundwater arsenic contamination
was grouped into 3 classes: 10, 1050 and > 50 μg/L,
Fig. 1 Aerial view of the arsenic exposed Sabalpur village along with inset river Ganga and river Gandak
Environ Sci Pollut Res
whereas the hair arsenic concentration data was grouped into 2
classes, 0.2 and > 0.2 mg/Kg. Similarly, the nail arsenic
concentration data was also grouped into 2 classes: 0.5
and > 0.5 mg/Kg. Simple A3 landscape layout was chosen
for the thematic map output.
Results
Groundwater arsenic assessment in Sabalpur village
The collected n=128 water sample analysis report showed
very high arsenic contamination in the groundwater of the
village. The groundwater sample with maximum arsenic con-
centration reported was 244.20 μg/L, while more than 50
μg/L arsenic concentrations in about 17% of the analysed
samples were observed, whereas between 10 and 50 μg/L
arsenic concentration was found in about 44% of the total
analysed samples. Only 39% samples were found with in the
permissible arsenic levels (below 10 μg/L) (Fig. 2).
Arsenic analysis in hair samples of village people
The normal ranges of arsenic concentration in the hair samples
of the unexposed population usually found between 20 and
200 μg/Kg (Chakraborti et al. 2016). In the present study, the
analysis of n= 128 hair samples showed arsenic concentration
with 12% (below0.2 mg/Kg), whereas 88% hair samples were
found with the levels morethan the permissible range (0.2 mg/
Kg). The hair arsenic concentration with maximum level of
35.52 mg/Kg is reported among the studied village population
which was extremely high (Fig. 3).
Arsenic analysis in nail samples of village people
The normal ranges of arsenic concentration in the nail samples
of the unexposed population lies usually between 20 and 500
μg/Kg (Chakraborti et al. 2016). The analysis of n=128 nail
samples showed arsenic concentration with 8% (below 0.5
mg/Kg), whereas 92% nail samples were found with thelevels
more than the permissible limit (0.5 mg/Kg). The nail arsenic
concentration with maximum level of 9.419 mg/Kg
was reported among the studied village population (Fig. 4).
Correlation coefficient study
1. Correlation coefficient between the age of the
handpump and groundwater arsenic concentration:
According to the regression analysis, the arsenic levels
were prevalently high in the range of 522 years old
handpumps (r=0.040, P< 0.05; Fig. 5a).
2. Correlation coefficient between the depth of the
handpump and groundwater arsenic concentration:
The high arsenic contamination level was prevalent in
the handpumps between the 60 and 80 feet of depth range.
An overall declining trend was observed which represents
the higher arsenic contamination in the shallow aquifers
(r= negative, P< 0.05; Fig. 5b).
3. Correlation coefficient between the age of the subjects
and hair arsenic levels: An increasing trend was observed
between the subjects age and their hair arsenic levels.
The subjects over 20 years of age retained relatively very
high hair arsenic values representing the age-related hair
arsenic deposition (r=0.022,P<0.05;Fig.5c).
4. Correlation coefficient between age of the subjects and
the nail arsenic levels: A slight increasing trend was ob-
served between the subjects age and their nail arsenic
levels. Mostly all the subjects exhibited high nail
arsenic contamination (r=0.006,P<0.05;Fig.5d).
5. Correlation coefficient between the hair arsenic levels
and groundwater arsenic concentration:Anincreasing
trend was observed between the subjects hair arsenic
levels and their drinking water arsenic contamination (r
=0.011,P< 0.05; Fig. 5e).
Fig. 2 Groundwater arsenic
concentration in handpumps of
Sabalpur village analysed through
GF-AAS (ANOVA-Dunnetts
test, P<0.05)
Environ Sci Pollut Res
6. Correlation coefficient between the nail arsenic levels
and groundwater arsenic concentration: An increasing
trend was observed between the subjects nail arsenic
levels and their drinking water arsenic contamination (r
=0.011,P< 0.05, Fig. 5f).
GIS study
The thematic map shows significant synoptic view of ground-
water arsenic contamination in Sabalpur village with hair and
nail arsenic levels distribution in the village exposed popula-
tion (Fig. 6).
Clinical observations
The village population exhibited typical arsenicosis symp-
toms such as hyperkeratosis in sole and palm. The average
population had more or less the raindrop pigmentation in their
body parts. In children, the arsenicosis symptoms wereseen in
only one subject, who also had the lump(cervical node) on her
neck (Fig. 7).
Health assessment
In the present study, all the n=520 householdsrepre-
sentatives of the entire village were interviewed, and
where the arsenicosis symptoms were higher in the
household members, they were interviewed extensively.
Few subjects of this village exhibited severe symptoms
of arsenicosis in the form of hyperkeratosis in palm and
sole (0.01%) and melanosis (0.01%), while with other
skin manifestations were (14.29%), anaemic (24.01%),
general body weakness (17.89%), blood pressure prob-
lem (15.07%), diabetes (8.477%), breathlessness
(13.81%), mental disability (2.99%), lumps in the body
(17.74%) and other health problems (28.88%) were ob-
served (Table 1).
Cancer cases
n the present study, out of six cancer patients, one cancer
patient reported to our institute with typical symptoms of
arsenicosis all over the body. The patient was diagnosed with
renal cell carcinoma in the stage IV of the disease. The
Fig. 3 Hair arsenic concentration
of Sabalpur village population
analysed through GF-AAS
(ANOVA-Dunnettstest,P<
0.05)
Fig. 4 Nail arsenic concentration
of Sabalpur village population
analysed through GF-AAS
(ANOVA-Dunnettstest,P<
0.05)
Environ Sci Pollut Res
patients drinking water source is assayed for arsenic which
was found to be 172.6 μg/L, while the arsenic concentration in
his blood is 245.6 μg/L, nail is 353.1 μg/Kg, and in hair is
182.4 μg/Kg, respectively (Fig. 8). However, the other 05
cancer cases reported patient were skin, breast and cervix hav-
ing the treatment at our cancer centre, but till date all have
died.
Mitigation intervention
In the present study area, the mitigation approach was
undertaken to combat the problem in March 2020 by
the installation of an arsenic filter (ceramic membrane
based arsenic filter) by the joint association of CSIR-
CGCRI, Kolkata, Bihar State Pollution Control Board,
Fig. 5 aThe scatterplot graph of groundwater arsenic concentration and
age of the handpumps (r= 0.040 and P<0.05).bThe scatterplot graph of
groundwater arsenic concentration and depth of the handpumps (r=
negative and P< 0.05). cThe scatterplot graph of hair arsenic
concentrations and age of the subjects (r= 0.022 and P<0.05).dThe
scatterplot graph of nail arsenic concentrations and age of the subjects (r=
0.006 and P< 0.05). eThe scatterplot graph of groundwater arsenic
concentration and hair arsenic level (r= 0.011 and P< 0.05). fThe
scatterplot graph of groundwater arsenic concentration and nail arsenic
level (r=0.011andP<0.05)
Environ Sci Pollut Res
Patna and WaterAid-Bihar. This will be solving the ex-
posed population at much extent. The health review
shall be conducted after the operation of 18 months of
this installed arsenic filter to know the impact at the
initial phase (Fig. 9).
Discussion
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World
Health Organization (WHO) suggested that a maximum level
of 10 μg/L inorganic arsenic level in groundwater is safe for
Fig. 6 Thematic map showing
synoptic view of arsenic level in
groundwater, hair and nail
samples overlaid using QGIS
software (version 3.10.1-A
Coruna)
Fig. 7 Clinical observation of
village people with skin disorders
Environ Sci Pollut Res
drinking purpose (ATSDR 2005; Rakib et al. 2013;WHO
1993). Arsenic was positioned as number one general human
health impact on its substance priority list by United States
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry considering
it as a carcinogen-causing cancer of the lung, kidney, bladder and
skin (ATSDR 2005). International Agency for Research on
Cancer grouped inorganic arsenic as class I human cancer-
causing agent, which means adequate evidence supported their
classification (IARC 2012; Martinez et al. 2011;WHO2011).
The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations/World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee
on Food Additives (JECFA) re-examined the risks of arsenic
exposure and found evidence of adverse impacts in regions with
drinking water arsenic concentration ranging between 50 and
100 μg/L (WHO 2011).
An estimated 200 million individuals are exposed to arse-
nic level unquestionably more than the permissible limit,
caused different arsenic related diseases (Naujokas et al.
2013; IARC 2004; Gregori et al. 2003; Nordstrom 2002;
Smith et al. 2000).Anewreportin2012assessedthat
Table 1 Showing arsenic caused
common symptoms and their
percentage in the Sabalpur village
population (n= 637)
Symptoms Problems present
in the population
No problems
observed
Total cases P-value
Arsenicosis symptoms in palm and sole 7 (0.01%) 630 (99.99%) 637 < 0.001
Melanosis in palm and trunk 7 (0.01%) 630 (99.99%) 637 < 0.001
Other skin problems 91 (14.29%) 546 (85.71%) 637 < 0.001
Anaemia 153 (24.01%) 484 (75.99%) 637 < 0.001
General body weakness 114 (17.89%) 523 (82.11%) 637 < 0.001
BP problem 96 (15.07%) 541 (84.93%) 637 < 0.001
Diabetes 54 (8.477%) 583 (91.53%) 637 < 0.001
Breathlessness 88 (13.81%) 553 (86.19%) 637 < 0.001
Mental disability 19 (2.99%) 618 (97.01%) 637 < 0.001
Lump in the body 113 (17.74%) 524 (82.26%) 637 < 0.001
Cancer 6 (0.94%) 631 (99.05%) 637 < 0.001
Other health problem 184 (28.88%) 453 (71.12%) 637 < 0.001
Fig. 8 Arsenicosis symptoms in a
renal cancer patient
Environ Sci Pollut Res
about 2045 million individuals are at high risk of arsenic
exposure more than 50 μg/L concentration (Flanagan et al.
2012). According to a recent study, cancer risk is related
with the normalday by day utilization of 2 L of drinkingwater
with more than 50 μg/L inorganic arsenic. The main source of
inorganic arsenic exposure is mostly through drinking water
and water-based products (Sinha et al. 2003; Anetor et al.
2007; Chung et al. 2014). Recent study correlates the arsenic
catastrophe in the Gangetic plains of Bihar causing increased
disease burden including the cancer risk (Kumar et al. 2021).
The present study revealed the highest groundwater arsenic
concentration found to be 244.20 μg/L in studied area which
is around 24 times greater than the WHOs maximum permis-
sible limit. Around 61% of the handpumps were found to be
contaminated with more than 10 μg/L arsenic concentration
that is a problematic situation for the residing population. The
highly elevated arsenic levels were found between 60 and 80
feet of handpump depth range.
The arsenic toxicity symptoms primarily manifest on skin
along with the disturbances in other cellular process of organ
systems. The arsenic caused skin manifestations such
as hyperpigmentation, hyperkeratosis and hypermelanosis of
the palm and sole (Li et al. 2011; Melkonian et al. 2012). In
the present study also, many arsenic-exposed subjects exhib-
ited the symptoms of arsenicosis like hyperkeratosis, hyper-
pigmentation and melanosis in their palm and sole.
Hair and nail reflect the long-term exposure of
metals. The arsenic concentration in hair and nails re-
flects its average level in the human body for a period
of 25 months in hairs and 1218 months in nails
(Yoshinaga et al. 1990; Nowak and Kozlowski 1998).
USEPA, WHO and Atomic Energy Agency (AEA) rec-
ommended the use of hair as an important biomarker
for worldwide environmental arsenic monitoring
(Druyan et al. 1998;Mortonetal.2002). Generally
arsenic persists for longer time duration in hairs
(Gebel 2000). Blood arsenic moves into hairs and re-
tains there by binding with the sulphhydryl groups of
keratin and finally moves toward the hair shafts
(Hindmarsh 2002). Our present study explored the
highest arsenic level in human hair samples that was
35.52 mg/Kg among the studied population. Even the
younger age group from village was having high arsenic
concentrations in their hair. Arsenic also persists for
longer time duration in nails just like hairs. The present
study showed that the nail samples retain lower values
of arsenic concentration with the maximum of 9.419
mg/Kgincomparisonwiththehairsamples.
The studied populations health status was very poor
as they were suffering from health related issues like
asthma, anaemia, hepatomegaly, diabetes, cardiac prob-
lems, fungal infection on skin, breathlessness and men-
tal disability. Regular consumption of drinking water
contaminated with elevated arsenic levels resulted to
the high risk of skin, bladder, lung, liver and kidney
cancer (Chowdhury et al. 2000; GuhaMazumder et al.
1998;Bergetal.2001;Chenetal.1999; Ferreccio
et al. 2000). Long-term arsenic exposure led towards
early onset of diabetes (Benbrahim-Tallaa and Waalkes
2008). In our present study, some diabetic cases were
found, and the most unfortunate part of the study was
the finding of few cancer cases of renal, skin, breast
and cervix. Hence, arsenic in the present scenario is
enhancing the disease burden in the arsenic-exposed
population of this region. However, after the installation
of the arsenic filter in this village, will definitely change
the scenario in this village and will also change the
health status of the exposed population. Hence, from
the present study, it can be concluded that arsenic con-
tamination in drinking water is causing lot of health-
Fig. 9 Mitigation unit (arsenic
filter) installed in the village
Environ Sci Pollut Res
related problems in the exposed population of village
Sabalpur. The disease burden in the studied village pop-
ulation is very high. However, after the installation of
the arsenic filter in the village will definitely play the
major role to control the disease burden in the coming
years.
Acknowledgement The authors acknowledge support extended by
Mahavir Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Patna for providing labo-
ratory and other infrastructural facilities for this study. We are also thank-
ful to Dr. Swaccha Majumdar, CSIR-CGCRI, Kolkata, Bihar State
Pollution Control Board, Patna and WaterAid- Bihar for the installation
of the arsenic filter in this village.
Authorscontributions A.K., M. A, R. K and A.K.G. conceptualized the
entire work; A.K. had the major contributions in writing the manuscript,
but support was also provided by A.K.G., D.K., T.R. and A.B.; literature
search was done by A.S. and P.K.N.; survey data were collected by
M.S.R., R.K., N.K., N.N., A.G., V.R., G.A. and P.K.N; experimental
work and data analysis were done by M.S.R., P.K.N, G.A. and A.S.; data
interpretation was carried out by A.K., M.A., R.K., D.K., A.B., T. R,
G.B.C and M.S.; geospatial mapping was finalized by A.B., S.K. and
M.S.R.; and final figures were designed by A.K., M.S.R, R.K. and S.K.
All authors read and approved the final paper.
Funding This work was financially supported by the institute itself
(Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre, Patna, Bihar, India)
Data availability All data generated or analysed during this study are
included in this manuscript.
Declarations
Ethical approval For the present study, ethical approval was obtained
from the Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) of Mahavir Cancer
Sansthan & Research Centre with IEC No. MCS/Research/2015-16/
2416, dated 24/08/2016 (agenda no.15).
Consent to participate Not applicable
Consent to publish All authors have read the manuscript and approve of
its submission to Environmental Science and Pollution Research.
Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflicts of
interest.
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... More than 150 million people in 50 countries are drinking water containing arsenic greater than the permissible limit. Long-term exposure to arsenic in humans and animals is associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, asthma, cancer, aging and mental disability [18,31]. Both arsenic and its metabolites primarily interact with macromolecules especially those containing sulfhydryl (-SH) group. ...
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Concurrent exposure to a multitude of environmental toxicants pose serious health hazard to humans and animals. The present investigation was conceptualized to determine deleterious effects of concomitant subacute arsenic and quinalphos exposure on antioxidant responses of liver and erythrocytes of Wistar rats. Fifty-four Wistar rats were divided into nine groups with six animals in each. Animals were exposed to either quinalphos (1/100th and 1/10th of LD50) through oral gavage daily or arsenic (50 and 100 ppb) in drinking water alone and in combination for 28 days. While treatment with different toxicants alone also significantly reduced hemoglobin concentration, hepatic biomarkers and levels of antioxidant parameters as compared with control values, concomitant exposure significantly (P < 0.05) elevated levels of hepatic transaminases and alkaline phosphatase. Moreover, along with significant depletion in activities of SOD, CAT, TTH, AChE, and enzymes of glutathione complex, a significant enhancement of lipid peroxidation was also recorded in liver and erythrocytes in co-exposed animals in a dose-dependent manner when compared with exposure to individual toxicant. More severe alterations occurred in hepatic histo-architecture of rats receiving combined treatment as compared with those treated with either toxicant. Results indicated that oxidative damage in erythrocytes was more than that of the liver of rats on concomitant exposure of arsenic and quinalphos in a dose-dependent manner. In nutshell, our results revealed that combined treatment of quinalphos with arsenic potentiated toxic effects of either toxicant on antioxidant machinery of liver and erythrocytes and hepatic histomorphology of exposed Wistar rats.
... Hence, the exposed subjects would be more vulnerable or at high risk to the disease. [71][72][73] This study draws through its ndings that signi cant changes do occur at the subcellular levels due to sustained exposure to arsenic leading to increased risk to cancer. What is even more disturbing that the control subjects are equally vulnerable to the risk to disease in future. ...
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Chapter
Arsenic a genotoxic metalloid has become a major threat to the living world in the present scenario. Its distribution in the environment and the many sources of exposure make it more hazardous to humanity. Various sources of arsenic exposure from contaminated groundwater have become a global public health concern, with over 300 million people affected worldwide. Bihar is the second most arsenic-affected state after West Bengal in India. Out of 38 districts of Bihar, 22 districts have been severely affected by arsenic. It is estimated that currently 10 million population are exposed to arsenic in the state. The exposed population is continuously consuming potable water contaminated with arsenic above the WHO recommended concentration of 10 μg/L. It is currently associated with several health problems, including skin, liver, lung, kidney, prostate, and gallbladder cancer. Moreover, the exposed population is also exhibiting severe health-related problems such as skin manifestations—hyperkeratosis, melanosis, raindrop pigmentation, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal problems, anemia, hormonal disorders, etc. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also classified the disease as a Group I human carcinogen. The mechanism of the arsenic-induced tumor involves alteration of DNA repair, methylation, gene regulation, and gene expression ultimately leading to genomic instability. It induces reactive oxygen species which damage various signaling pathways resulting in abnormal cell division. Autophagy is a natural cell repair process by which damaged cells or cellular components are degraded in the lysosome to maintain homeostasis. Any defect in the autophagy mechanism causes chronic inflammation leading to carcinogenesis. In the arsenic exposed individuals, there is a complete cellular failure by which there is continuous inflammation in the system causing a breach in the defense mechanism. The uncontrolled disease impairment, in the long duration of arsenic exposure, causes failure in the autophagy mechanism causing the disease of cancer in the exposed population.
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The extent of groundwater arsenic (As) contamination and associated health-risks were studied in the four villages: Chaukia and Terahrasiya (Vaishali); Mamalkha and Masharu (Bhagalpur) in Bihar, India. Groundwater samples were tested using the standard Silverdiethyledithiocarbamate method at 520nm by Thermo UV-1 spectrophotometer. The As levels in both the districts exceeded the WHO standard of 10µg/L for drinking water with a maximum value of 20µg/L in Vaishali and 143µg/L in Bhagalpur. However, the FAO standard of 100µg/L of As for irrigation water was only exceeded in Bhagalpur. The calculated range of the hazard index (HI) for Vaishali was 0.9 to 10, and for Bhagalpur was 10.40 to 40.47. Both ranges exceed the accepted normal toxic HI of 1.00. The cancer risk was derived as 1-5/1000 people to 5-16/10,000 people in Vaishali, and 7-21/1000 and 5-16/1000 people in Bhagalpur. Prevalence of skin pigmentation was double in Vaishali in comparison to Bhagalpur. The analysis of principal components showed that only two components had a fundamental role in defining variance for cancer risk assessment. A more extensive screening of As contamination of groundwater and a follow-up clinical study are necessary to accurately assess the likelihood of As-related cancers in these districts.
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Background: In the present times, arsenic poisoning contamination in the ground water has caused lots of health-related problems in the village population residing in middle Gangetic plain. In Bihar, about 16 districts have been reported to be affected with arsenic poisoning. For the ground water and health assessment, Simri village of Buxar district was undertaken which is a flood plain region of river Ganga. Methods: In this study, 322 water samples were collected for arsenic estimation, and their results were analyzed. Furthermore, the correlation between arsenic contamination in ground water with depth and its distance from river Ganga were analyzed. Results are presented as mean ± standard deviation and total variation present in a set of data was analyzed through one-way analysis of variance. The difference among mean values has been analyzed by applying Dunnett's test. The criterion for statistical significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: This study shows novel findings ever done in this area. Halwa Patti and Doodhi Patti strips were the most affected strips with high-arsenic concentration in hand pumps. Furthermore, a correlation between the arsenic concentration with the depth of the hand pumps and the distance from the river Ganga was also a significant study. Conclusions: The present study concludes that in Simri village there is high contamination of arsenic in ground water in all the strips. Such a huge population is at very high risk leading the village on the verge of causing health hazards among them. Therefore, an immediate strategy is required to combat the present problem.
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We investigated the extent and severity of groundwater arsenic (As) contamination in five blocks in Patna district, Bihar, India along with As in biological samples and its health effects such as dermatological, neurological and obstetric outcome in some villages. We collected 1365 hand tube-well water samples and analyzed for As by the flow injection hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometer (FI-HG-AAS). We found 61% and 44% of the tube-wells had As above 10 and 50 μg/l, respectively, with maximum concentration of 1466 μg/l. Our medical team examined 712 villagers and registered 69 (9.7%) with arsenical skin lesions. Arsenical skin lesions were also observed in 9 children of 312 screened. We analyzed 176 biological samples (hair, nail and urine). Out of these, 69 people had arsenical skin lesions and rest without skin lesions. We found 100% of the biological samples had As above the normal levels (concentrations of As in hair, nail and urine of unexposed individuals usually ranges from 20 to 200 μg/kg, 20-500 μg/kg and <100 μg/l, respectively), indicating many people are sub-clinically affected. Arsenical neuropathy was observed in 40.5% of 37 arsenicosis patients with 73.3% prevalence for predominant sensory neuropathy and 26.7% for sensor-motor. Among patients, different clinical and electrophysiological neurological features and abnormal quantitative sensory perception thresholds were also noted. The study also found that As exposed women with severe skin lesions had adversely affected their pregnancies. People including children in the affected areas are in danger. To combat As situation in affected areas, villagers urgently need (a) provision of As-safe water for drinking and cooking, (b) awareness about the danger of As toxicity, and (c) nutritious food.