[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better understand the magnitude of arsenic contamination in groundwater and its effects on human beings, a detailed study was carried out in Jalangi, one of the 85 arsenic affected blocks in West Bengal, India. Jalangi block is approximately 122 km2 in size and has a population of 215538. Of the 1916 water samples analyzed (about 31% of the total hand tubewells) from the Jalangi block, 77.8% were found to have arsenic above 10 microg l(-1) [the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended level of arsenic in drinking water], 51% had arsenic above 50 microg l(-1) (the Indian standard of permissible limit of arsenic in drinking water) and 17% had arsenic at above 300 microg l(-1) (the concentration predicting overt arsenical skin lesions). From our preliminary medical screening, 1488 of the 7221 people examined in the 44 villages of Jalangi block exhibit definite arsenical skin lesions. An estimation of probable population that may suffer from arsenical skin lesions and cancer in the Jalangi block has been evaluated comparing along with international data. A total of 1600 biologic samples including hair, nail and urine have been analyzed from the affected villages of Jalangi block and on an average 88% of the biologic samples contain arsenic above the normal level. Thus, a vast population of the block may have arsenic body burden. Cases of Bowen's disease and cancer have been identified among adults who also show arsenical skin lesions and children in this block are also seriously affected. Obstetric examinations were also carried out in this block.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2005 · Science of The Total Environment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the severity of the arsenic crisis in West Bengal, India, a detailed, 3-year study was undertaken in Murshidabad, one of the nine arsenic-affected districts in West Bengal. The district covers an area of 5324 km2 with a population of 5.3 million.
Hand tubewell water samples and biologic samples were collected from Murshidabad and analyzed for arsenic by FI-HG-AAS method. Inter laboratory analysis and analyses of standards were undertaken for quality assurance.
During our survey we analyzed 29,612 hand tubewell water samples for arsenic from both contaminated and non-contaminated areas, and 26% of the tubewells were found to have arsenic above 50 microg/L while 53.8% had arsenic above 10 microg/L. Of the 26 blocks in Murshidabad, 24 were found to have arsenic above 50 microg/L. Based on our generated data we estimated that approximately 0.2 million hand tubewells are installed in all 26 blocks of Murshidabad and 1.8 million in nine arsenic-affected districts of West Bengal. It was estimated on the basis of our data that about 2.5 million and 1.2 million people were drinking arsenic-contaminated water with concentrations above 10 and 50 microg/L levels respectively in this district. The analysis of total 3800 biologic (nail, urine, and hair) samples from arsenic-affected villages revealed that 95% of the nail and 94% of the urine samples contained arsenic above the normal levels and 75% of the hair samples were found to have arsenic above the toxic level. Thus, many villagers in the affected areas of Murshidabad might be subclinically affected.
Comparing our extrapolated data with international dose response results, we estimated how many people may suffer from arsenical skin lesions and cancer. Finally, if the exposed population is provided safe water, better nutrition, and proper awareness about the arsenic problem, lives can be saved and countless suffering of the affected population can be avoided.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2005 · Clinical Toxicology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the severity of related health effects of chronic arsenic exposure in West Bengal, a detailed 3-year study was carried out in Murshidabad, one of the nine arsenic-affected districts in West Bengal.
We screened 25,274 people from 139 arsenic-affected villages in Murshidabad to identify patients suffering from chronic arsenic toxicity for evidence of multisystemic features and collected biological samples such as head hair, nail, and spot urine from the patients along with the tubewell water they were consuming.
Out of 25,274 people screened, 4813 (19%) were registered with arsenical skin lesions. A case series involving arsenical skin lesions resulting in cancer and gangrene were noted during this study. Representative histopathological pictures of skin biopsy of different types of lesions were also presented. Out of 2595 children we examined for arsenical skin lesions, 122 (4%) were registered with arsenical skin lesions, melanosis with or without keratosis. Different clinical and electrophysiological neurological features were noticed among the arsenic-affected villagers. Both the arsenic content in the drinking water and duration of exposure may be responsible in increasing the susceptibility of pregnant women to spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, preterm births, low birth weights, and neonatal deaths. Some additional multisystemic features such as weakness and lethargy, chronic respiratory problems, gastrointestinal symptoms, and anemia were also recorded in the affected population.
The findings from this survey on different health effects of arsenic exposure were compared to those from previous studies carried out on arsenic-affected populations in India and Bangladesh as well as other affected countries.
Multisystemic disorders, including dermal effects, neurological complications, and adverse obstetric outcomes, were observed to be associated with chronic arsenic exposure in the study population in Murshidabad, West Bengal. The magnitude of severity was related to the concentration of arsenic in water as well as duration of the exposure.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2005 · Clinical Toxicology