Up to 60 million in Pakistan at risk of arsenic poisoning, study says

An international team of scientists created a “hazard map” of locations at risk using water samples collected via almost 1,0 sites across the country, the majority of them via hand as well as motor pumps.

Using statistical modeling, the team also assessed environmental factors which may affect the movement of arsenic as well as calculated the size of populations at risk of exposure. They concluded which there was widespread arsenic contamination from the Indus Plain, via where 50 million to 60 million people get their groundwater.

“This kind of alarmingly high number of people likely affected demonstrates an urgent need to test all drinking water wells from the Indus Plain,” the team said in a statement.

The researchers have urged authorities to treat affected wells accordingly. Arsenic does not have a smell or a taste, as well as there are no short-term symptoms after consuming the item. However, drinking contaminated water regularly could lead to serious illnesses including lung cancer as well as cardiovascular diseases, the team said.

The study “doesn’t mean every well from the area is usually affected, although the easiest thing to do as well as the first obvious step is usually to test each as well as every well,” said Joel Podgorski of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science as well as Technology, the study’s lead author. “Once the item’s known which a well has arsenic from the item, people can shift to a safe water source. Or a filter could be used.”

‘Humans have exacerbated the issue’

the globe Health Organization estimates which 0 million people worldwide are affected by arsenic contamination. The organization’s guidelines for concentration of arsenic in drinking water permit up to 10 micrograms per liter; Pakistan’s guidelines allow up to 50 micrograms per liter.

although use of either measurement might not change the number of people who the team believes to be at risk, Podgorski said, with most supplies from the area breaching 50 micrograms per liter.

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Podgorski added which the arsenic naturally occurred from the groundwater although which “the item’s possible in some cases which humans have exacerbated the issue.”

“We’ve alluded from the study to a correlation between arsenic levels as well as high organic pollution in groundwater,” he said. “Sometimes, human as well as animal waste getting into a shallow well can make the issue worse locally, as the item causes a different type of of arsenic Discharge.”

The team also found a correlation between irrigated areas as well as high arsenic levels from the water, though Podgorski stressed which This kind of could be a coincidence.

Beyond further testing, the team suggested emergency measures such as health intervention programs for those affected.

The need to know more

“We need to know today how many people are affected as well as at risk,” said Mohammad Shamsudduha, a research fellow as well as hydrogeology expert at University College London who was not involved from the research. “I’m quite convinced by their data, as they’ve collected so many samples.”

He added which the fact which the group has linked contamination to the number of people exposed is usually impressive. “Previously, the numbers of those at risk were very speculative. the item’s also a study examining arsenic levels in Pakistan at a national level. Much of the data I’ve looked at has been at a local level,” he said.

Podgorski said Syed Ali Musstjab Akber Shah Eqani, a co-author on the study, is usually collecting further groundwater samples in Pakistan for the team’s next phase of research.

“We also have from the pipeline a similar study on fluoride levels across Pakistan, which is usually also an issue,” Podgorski said.

Shamsudduha hopes the team’s research will increase awareness of arsenic contamination in Pakistan.

“There’s always a pressure put on officials using a high impact publication as well as the consequent media coverage,” he said. “the item’s just a dream which every well will be tested before the item is usually sunk, which everyone in This kind of field might recommend, although possibly, This kind of study may trigger policy adjustments producing sure which testing for arsenic contamination is usually more common.”

Up to 60 million in Pakistan at risk of arsenic poisoning, study says

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