Water Quality, Exposure and Health

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 5–21 | Cite as

Groundwater Arsenic Contamination, Its Health Effects and Approach for Mitigation in West Bengal, India and Bangladesh

  • Bhaskar Das
  • Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman
  • Bishwajit Nayak
  • Arup Pal
  • Uttam Kumar Chowdhury
  • Subhas Chandra Mukherjee
  • Khitish Chandra Saha
  • Shyamapada Pati
  • Quazi Quamruzzaman
  • Dipankar ChakrabortiEmail author


Since 1988, water samples from 140,150 tube-wells were analyzed for arsenic (As) in all 19 districts of West Bengal. In 9 districts, As has been found above the national standard (50 μg/L) and in 5 districts, between 10 and 50 μg/L. From Bangladesh, 50,515 tube-well water samples were analyzed from all 64 districts. Arsenic was present above 10 μg/L in 60 districts and in 50 districts, above 50 μg/L. Other than urine As speciation, 39,000 biological samples were analyzed from both patients and non-patients, 83% of the samples had As above normal level. Arsenical skin lesions were identified in 13,118 people, screening 114,841 from West Bengal and Bangladesh. About 6.1% of 5,000 children in Bangladesh and 1.7% of 14,000 in West Bengal were found to have arsenical skin lesions. Arsenic neuropathy, obstetric outcome and As in foodstuffs were also studied. Proper watershed management and community participation are needed to mitigate this alarming situation.


Arsenic in ground water Arsenic in biological samples Arsenical skin lesions Arsenic neuropathy Obstetric outcome Arsenic in children Arsenic in food chain An approach for mitigation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bhaskar Das
    • 1
  • Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman
    • 1
  • Bishwajit Nayak
    • 1
  • Arup Pal
    • 1
  • Uttam Kumar Chowdhury
    • 1
  • Subhas Chandra Mukherjee
    • 2
  • Khitish Chandra Saha
    • 3
  • Shyamapada Pati
    • 4
  • Quazi Quamruzzaman
    • 5
  • Dipankar Chakraborti
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environmental StudiesJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyMedical College & HospitalKolkataIndia
  3. 3.School of Tropical MedicineKolkataIndia
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyInstitute of Post Graduate Medical Education and ResearchKolkataIndia
  5. 5.Dhaka Community HospitalDhakaBangladesh

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