Podcast ¦ The global threat of arsenic in drinking water

 May 26, 2020

... Joel Podgorski, a senior scientist in the Water Resources and Drinking Water Department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the global threat of arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic is basically present in all rocks in minute amounts. Under the right conditions it can leach into groundwater and poison drinking water. Without a noticeable taste or smell, arsenic contamination can go undetected for years. The paper, published in Science, estimates that more than 100 million people are at risk of drinking arsenic-contaminated water and provides a guide for the most important places to test….

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Global arsenic prediction and estimated population at risk

May 22, 2020

Many experts describe the health effects of drinking water contaminated with toxic concentrations of arsenic as the greatest mass poisoning in human history. A risk model developed by Eawag researcher Joel Podgorski now shows that up to 220 million people worldwide could be affected.

Today, one third of the world’s population obtains its drinking water and water for irrigation from groundwater reserves. Global population growth and water scarcity due to climate change mean that the pressure on this resource is continually increasing….

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Eawag researchers selected for the “Sandmeyer Award”

December 13, 2018 

Michael Berg, Stephan Hug, Annette Johnson (in memoriam), Andreas Voegelin and Lenny Winkel from the Department of Water Resources and Drinking Water (W +T) at Eawag have been selected for the "Sandmeyer Award" from the Swiss Chemical Society (SCG) for their many years of work researching contamination of drinking water resources with geogenic elements. The contamination of drinking water with geogenic elements such as arsenic and fluoride is a problem that affects several hundred million people around the world. Chronic arsenic poisoning, cancer, dental or skeletal fluorosis are some of the severe consequences of this….

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India’s excess fluoride in groundwater

August 16, 2018

Fluoride occurs naturally in groundwater. In small amounts, this is usually not a problem, but in India the concentration in many places exceeds the threshold at which is starts to present a health hazard. According to estimates by Eawag researchers, based on new computer models, more than a hundred million people are affected.

Many Indian lakes and rivers are polluted, and drinking from them is a health hazard. For this reason, more and more people in India are pumping ever-greater quantities of water - assumed to be clean groundwater – from underground wells. But in many places, this is also contaminated….

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Arsenic risk in Pakistan much greater than expected

August 23, 2017

Arsenic-contaminated groundwater used as drinking water or for irrigation may threaten the health of 50 to 60 million people in Pakistan. This is shown by an Eawag-led study - co-financed by SDC - in which data from 1200 groundwater samples was analysed and combined with geological and hydrological parameters to generate a hazard map. This reveals for the first time the full extent of the risks to which the population of Pakistan is exposed. In addition, there is growing evidence that natural arsenic levels are increased by extensive irrigation...

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Burkina Faso Project

April 15, 2017

Arsenic contamination in groundwater from crystalline basement rocks in West Africa has only been documented in isolated areas and presents a serious health threat in a region already facing multiple challenges related to water quality and scarcity. We present a comprehensive dataset of arsenic concentrations from drinking water wells in rural Burkina Faso (n = 1498), of which 14.6% are above 10 μg/L. Included in this dataset are 269 new samples from regions where no published water quality data existed....

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New Risk Model Sheds Light on Arsenic Risk in China's Groundwater

August 22, 2013

Arsenic-laden groundwater used for cooking and drinking could pose a risk to the health of almost 20 million people across China. This is shown by a study carried out by Eawag scientists in collaboration with Chinese colleagues and published today in Science. The estimates are based on a risk model incorporating geological and hydrological data, as well as measurements of arsenic in wells....

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