New method developed to map arsenic affected areasJuly 14th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, July 14 (IANS) A new, low-cost method has been developed to help accurately map areas where the groundwater has been contaminated by arsenic. Earlier, identifying high-risk areas required costly sampling campaigns, said researchers who developed the new method to trace the toxin that affects the health of millions, especially in the river deltas of South and Southeast Asia.
Worldwide, more than 100 million people are exposed to excessive amounts of arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic is a contaminant - deriving from natural sources - which is dissolved in groundwater.
If ingested over long periods, even low concentrations can cause damage to health, including hyper-pigmentation of the skin, disorders of liver and kidney function, and various types of cancer.
In many areas, the problem is recognised, but because surface waters are polluted new wells are continually dug, often without testing the pumped water for arsenic.
Researchers, led by geologist Lenny Winkel and environmental chemist Michael Berg, have compiled existing geological data from countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar and others to produce a map of arsenic contaminated areas.
The data related to surface sediments and soil properties, which permits sufficiently accurate conclusions about the chemical and physical conditions in groundwater.
The scientists then studied the statistical relations between 30 surface parameters and arsenic concentrations, and incorporated the eight most relevant variables into a logistic regression model.
In particular, young river deposits with organic rich sediments proved to be indicators of groundwater arsenic contamination. This is apparent from the maps in which the probabilities calculated for elevated arsenic concentrations are presented in a graphical form.
The findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.
- Study finds arsenic threats in Southeast Asia - Jul 14, 2008
- Scientists suggest solutions for poisonous well water crisis in South Asia - Jun 02, 2010
- Overuse of groundwater could 'push arsenic deeper into water table' - Jan 18, 2011
- Plant that suck up pollutants from soil - May 31, 2012
- Bangladesh's toxic waters captured in photo-essay (With Images, Feature) - Jun 10, 2012
- Arsenic contamination of water toxic to Bangladesh economy: Study - Dec 01, 2010
- Bengal nod to extract groundwater divides experts - May 25, 2012
- Now, trees can detect soil, water contaminants - Apr 18, 2011
- Groundwater contaminated, Punjab battles uranium curse (Punjab Newsletter) - Jul 13, 2012
- US scientists say use of deep aquifers in irrigation could raise arsenic poisoning in S. Asia - May 28, 2010
- Man-made ponds behind arsenic in Bangladesh water - Nov 16, 2009
- Indian academic leads British team on arsenic prevention project - Jul 27, 2009
- Mystery of arsenic-poisoning crisis in Asia solved - Mar 26, 2009
- A study of soil as a source of pollutants - Nov 28, 2010
- Oil spills increase arsenic levels in the ocean: Study - Jul 03, 2010
Tags: arsenic concentrations, arsenic contamination, arsenic in drinking water, environmental chemist, geological data, groundwater arsenic, hyper pigmentation, kidney function, logistic regression model, long periods, michael berg, relevant variables, rich sediments, risk areas, river deltas, river deposits, soil properties, statistical relations, surface parameters, surface sediments