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Arsenic in drinking water

dination’s Sub-committee on Water Resources. It provides a synthesis of available information on chemical, toxicological, medical, epidemiological, nutritional and public health issues; develops a basic strategy to cope with the problem and advises on removal technologies and on water quality management. The draft of the report is available at
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/Arsenic/ArsenicUNReptoc.htm

Urgent Requirements
Large-scale support to the management of the problem in developing countries with substantial, severely affected populations.
Simple, reliable, low-cost equipment for field measurement.
Increased availability and dissemination of relevant information.
Robust affordable technologies for arsenic removal at wells and in households.

Global Situation
The delayed health effects of exposure to arsenic, the lack of common definitions and of local awareness as well as poor reporting in affected areas are major problems in determining the extent of the arsenic-in-drinking-water problem.
Reliable data on exposure and health effects are rarely available, but it is clear that there are many countries in the world where arsenic in drinking-water has been detected at concentration greater than the Guideline Value, 0.01 mg/L or the prevailing national standard. These include Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, and the United States of America. Countries where adverse health effects have been documented include Bangladesh, China, India (West Bengal), and the United States of America.
Examples are:

west Bengal
Seven of 16 districts of West Bengal have been reported to have ground water arsenic concentrations above 0.05 mg/L; the total population in these seven districts is over 34 million (Mandal, et al, 1996) and it has been estimated that the population actually using arsenic-rich water is more
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