1 Introduction</h5> Arsenic, widely acknowledged as biologically harmful, is a contaminant in groundwater in many areas of the world, including Cambodia, Argentina, Chile, China, Hungary, Laos, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the USA ( Ahmed, 2003 ). However, the most widespread and serious groundwater arsenic levels are evident in West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi arsenic problem has been described as “the largest poisoning of a population in history, with millions of people exposed” ( Smith et al., 2000, pg. 1093 ).</P>The current World Health Organization guideline for inorganic arsenic in drinking water is 10 μg/L ( WHO, 2008 ). However, not all jurisdictions follow this guideline, including Bangladesh and India, where a guideline of 50 μg/L is used ( Chakraborti et al., 2009; Flanagan et al., 2012; WQAA Government of India ). Chronic arsenic exposure may result in severe health effects with skin lesions, hyperkeratosis, and increased risk of cancers.</P>Although anthropogenic sources of arsenic exist (e.g. smelting operations), the most widespread problems are of natural geochemical origin. Groundwater arsenic concentrations reported in the literature range from < 0.5 μg/L to 5000 μg/L under natural conditions ( Smedley and Kinniburgh, 2002 ). Oxides of
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2014
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