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New risk model highlights arsenic risk in China's groundwater
Date:8/24/2013

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Critically, the model identified known areas of high-risk and also new areas, including provinces in the North China Plain and the central part of the province of Sichuan. "In these locations," Rodriguez-Lado explained, "arsenic risk is coincident with the presence of a high population density; thus groundwater here should be tested for arsenic as soon as possible."

This model is not limited in use to China alone. "It may also be appropriate for use in other parts of the world," he continued, citing arid regions such as the Southwestern United States, where high arsenic concentrations have been reported. The model isn't limited to arsenic either. "In our opinion, predictive modeling is a promising technique for the development of risk maps for any kind of pollutant."

The authors emphasize that while their approach has several advantages over traditional groundwater screening methods, it is not a substitute for these methods. "The variability of arsenic concentrations is very high at short distances and our predictive model has a limited spatial resolution of one kilometer squared. This means that the screening methods implemented by the Chinese authorities at local scales are still necessary."

Rodriguez-Lado and his colleagues hope that, in China, their work can be used to support the well monitoring program currently in place, highlighting areas of particular risk to authorities.

"On a global scale," he continued "we hope our work can serve to highlight that drinking water quality is an important issue, and that this kind of study can help to implement prevention policies to improve the wellness of millions of people, especially in developing countries."


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Contact: Natasha Pinol
npinol@aaas.org
202-326-6440
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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