3 years ago

Arsenic in groundwater of West Bengal, India: A review of human health risks and assessment of possible intervention options

Arsenic in groundwater of West Bengal, India: A review of human health risks and assessment of possible intervention options
This paper reviews how active research in West Bengal has unmasked the endemic arsenism that has detrimental effects on the health of millions of people and their offspring. It documents how the pathways of exposure to this toxin/poison have been greatly expanded through intensive application of groundwater in agriculture in the region within the Green Revolution framework. A goal of this paper is to compare and contrast the similarities and differences in arsenic occurrence in West Bengal with those of other parts of the world and assess the unique socio-cultural factors that determine the risks of exposure to arsenic in local groundwater. Successful intervention options are also critically reviewed with emphasis on integrative strategies that ensure safe water to the population, proper nutrition, and effective ways to reduce the transfer of arsenic from soil to crops. While no universal model may be suited for the vast areas of the world affected with by natural contamination of groundwater with arsenic, we have emphasized community-specific sustainable options that can be adapted. Disseminating scientifically correct information among the population coupled with increased community level participation and education are recognized as necessary adjuncts for an engineering intervention to be successful and sustainable.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0048969717322143

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