An overview of arsenic mass-poisoning in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India

Edited by: C. Young


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The largest mass poisoning in the world, perhaps in history, is happening in West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh. Many thousands of people suffer from arsenic skin disorders and are dying from cancer. About 19 million are estimated to be at risk. The discovery of the arsenic poisoning from tubewell drinking water was made in 1983, but it took about 10 years to be formally recognized as a large-scale problem. The source of the arsenic is natural and three hypotheses have been proposed for its mobilization: oxidation of arsenian pyrite, reductive iron dissolution with release of adsorbed arsenic, and competitive adsorption from phosphate. The processes causing arsenic mobilization in the Bengal Delta are still poorly understood and further research is needed to design long-term remediation strategies.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title An overview of arsenic mass-poisoning in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India
ISBN 0873351991
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Minor elements 2000, processing and environmental aspects of As, Sb, Se, Te, and Bi
First page 21
Last page 30
Country India; Bangladesh; West Bengal
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