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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 180; doi:10.3390/ijerph15020180

Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in the Ganga River Basin: A Future Health Danger

School of Environmental Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700032, India
Virtusa Corporation, Irvington, NJ 07111, USA
Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER), The University of Newcastle, Callaghan Campus, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
Department of Dermatology, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata 700020, India
Department of Neurology, Medical College, Kolkata 700073, India
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata 700014, India
Surgical Oncologist, Barasat Cancer Research and Welfare Centre, Kolkata 700124, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arsenic Contamination, Bioavailability and Public Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4409 KB, uploaded 23 January 2018]   |  


This study highlights the severity of arsenic contamination in the Ganga River basin (GRB), which encompasses significant geographic portions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tibet. The entire GRB experiences elevated levels of arsenic in the groundwater (up to 4730 µg/L), irrigation water (~1000 µg/L), and in food materials (up to 3947 µg/kg), all exceeding the World Health Organization’s standards for drinking water, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s standard for irrigation water (100 µg/L), and the Chinese Ministry of Health’s standard for food in South Asia (0.15 mg/kg), respectively. Several individuals demonstrated dermal, neurological, reproductive, cognitive, and cancerous effects; many children have been diagnosed with a range of arsenicosis symptoms, and numerous arsenic-induced deaths of youthful victims are reported in the GRB. Victims of arsenic exposure face critical social challenges in the form of social isolation and hatred by their respective communities. Reluctance to establish arsenic standards and unsustainable arsenic mitigation programs have aggravated the arsenic calamity in the GRB and put millions of lives in danger. This alarming situation resembles a ticking time bomb. We feel that after 29 years of arsenic research in the GRB, we have seen the tip of the iceberg with respect to the actual magnitude of the catastrophe; thus, a reduced arsenic standard for drinking water, testing all available drinking water sources, and sustainable and cost-effective arsenic mitigation programs that include the participation of the people are urgently needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; Ganga River basin; drinking water; health effects; cancerous; social issues; mitigation arsenic; Ganga River basin; drinking water; health effects; cancerous; social issues; mitigation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chakraborti, D.; Singh, S.K.; Rahman, M.M.; Dutta, R.N.; Mukherjee, S.C.; Pati, S.; Kar, P.B. Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in the Ganga River Basin: A Future Health Danger. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 180.

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