can supply clean drinking water for one family
More than 500 million people around the globe have recently been exposed to arsenic poisoning through arsenic contaminated water, grains, vegetables, poultry and other agricultural products. As a result, thousands of people are suffering from numerous chronic diseases and many have already died.
Diseases caused by arsenic poisoning:
There are numerous diseases caused by the consumption and inhalation of arsenic-contaminated drinking water, foods, and dust particles. These diseases have created numerous social and economic problems in many underdeveloped nations. The following information presents a brief idea about arsenic-related diseases: “Arsenic can damage the nervous system and is a known carcinogen. It is also teratogen, meaning it can enter the metabolic system of unborn children.
The following diseases are suspected to be caused or aggravated by Arsenic in drinking water according to EPA in Arsenic Rule Benefit Analysis, August 9, 2001: Cancer of the Lung, Bladder, Skin, Prostate, Kidney, Nose and Liver, Stillbirths, Postneonatal mortality, Ischemic heart disease (heart attack), Diabetes mellitus, Nephritis (chronic inflammation of the kidneys), Nephrosis (degenerative kidney diseases), Hypertension, Hypertensive heart disease, Emphysema, Bronchitis, Chronic airway obstruction, Lymphoma (tumors in the lymph), Black-foot disease and Developmental deficits.
According to a news report in April 19, 2001, a team of EPA scientists at EPA’s Office of Re-search and Development laboratory in North Carolina has discovered a possible, direct link to DNA damage caused by arsenic compounds. The research demonstrates how a human cell’s own metabolic responses to arsenic exposure produce compounds that cause genetic damage.
Arsenic is also suspected to contribute to various other cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunological, neurological, peripheral vascular and endocrine diseases but as with the above symptoms, the epidemiological study of diseases caused by Arsenic poisoning is only in its infancy. For instance, a report from the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) from September 12, 2001, says that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has this far greatly underestimated the cancer risks of arsenic in drinking water.
Dr Azad of Hokkaido University in Japan has made the following classification of diseases caused by Arsenic in Bangladesh:
Initial Stage: Melanosis, Keratosis, Conjunctivitis, Bronchitis, Gastroenteritis Second Stage: Depigmentation, Hyperkeratosis, Non-pitting edema of legs, Peripheral nephropathy, Hepatopathy Final stage: Nephropathy, Hepatopathy, Gangrene, Cancer of skin, bladder and lung In Bangladesh, the majority of patients are still at initial and second stages according to Dr Azad. He also mentions the following additional conditions suspected to be caused by Arsenic in drinking water, as reported from other countries than Bangladesh: Bowen’s disease, Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Enlargement of liver, Jaundice, Cirrhosis, Non-cirrhotic portal hypertension, Hearing loss, Acrocyanosis, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Megablastosis and Goiter.” (Source: http://www.sustainablefuture.se/arsenic/arsenic_disaster.html).
Arsenic diseases have created major social issues. Often, people affected with arsenic contamination are not allowed to attend school or are unable to obtain and maintain stable jobs. These people tend to face much discrimination. As a result, huge economic problems are constantly rising in arsenic affected communities. The only solution is to provide sustainable arsenic and pathogen-free water supplies. This solution provides protection of the public health, ecosystem and the environment. Humane Water is working with communities and scientists to ensure that proper rehabilitation occurs.