Alahednews
english.alahednews.com.lb
Al-Ahed Telegram
Suhaila Ibrahim Zakzaky: My Parents are Detained at a Security Apparatus Facility Andrew Green: UK Should ’Move In the Direction of Friendship’ With Al-Assad Indian Scientist Finds Way to See Wormholes in Space-Time Netanyahu: At Least 6 Countries In ‘Serious’ Talks To Move Embassies To Al-Quds Lavrov: Putin, Trump Will Never Allow US-Russia Armed Conflict Al-Assad Returns Legion of Honor Award to ’US Slave’ France after Syria Strikes Zarif Vows Strong Retaliation If US Kills Iran’s Nuke Deal Even Stars Tell The Truth! ’Israeli’ Regime Denies 11-Yo Wounded Palestinian’s Passage for Medical Treatment, Causes Loss of His Leg Skripal Case: Russia’s OPCW Envoy Exposes ’Eight UK Lies’ #Putin, #Trump Will Never Allow US-Russia Armed Conflict, #Lavrov Says #Syria: "Jaish al-Islam" terrorists in al-Dmair town continue to hand over their arms before leaving for #Jarablus Magnitude 5.5 quake strikes southern #Iran; felt in #Bahrain US & allies' 'aggression' in #Syria is a violation of international law - #Putin to Merkel #Merkel claims #Russia shares responsibility for #Syria's actions as its ally Leader of #Daesh Cell in Russia Blows Himself Up During Detention - FSB #Russian, #French Ambassadors Arrive for #OPCW Meeting on #Douma #Russia: Response to #US #Sanctions Will Not Be Delay Sayyed #Nasrallah: Some #Gulf countries have worked and offered millions of dollars to strike #Syria and its institutions Sayyed #Nasrallah: The #US with its institutions, knows that any broad aggression against #Syria can’t end without consequences, but will blow the entire region
Guestbook mailinglist.php arabic site french site spanish site facebook twitter rss page
News Categories » NEWS » Miscellaneous

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size  Print Page
Toxic Levels of Arsenic in Amazon Basin Well Water
Local Editor

Shallow wells dug for drinking water in the Amazon basin in order to avoid polluted rivers contain up to 70 times the recommended limit of arsenic, researchers warned Tuesday.

Amazon

Samples taken from 250 sites along the Amazon - the first systematic analysis of the region's well water - also revealed hazardous levels of manganese and aluminum, they reported at a conference in Vienna.

"Faced with polluted rivers, many rural communities rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water," lead researcher Caroline de Meyer, a scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, told AFP.

"In parts of the Amazon basin, groundwater contains these trace elements in concentrations that are potentially harmful to human health."

"Contamination should not be underestimated - all our data point in the same direction," she added.

Levels of manganese were up to 15 times higher than World Health Organization limits, while aluminum exceeded WHO standards by up to three-fold.

The elements detected occur naturally, and do not come from industrial pollution, the researchers said.

Chronic exposure to arsenic is linked to cancers of the liver, kidney and bladder, as well as heart disease. It is also thought to contribute to miscarriages, low birth weights and poor cognitive development in children.

In Bangladesh, where arsenic in well water has been a known health hazard for decades, the element is blamed for some 40,000 premature deaths each year.

Manganese poisoning can cause permanent neurological damage, while the impacts of sustained exposure to aluminum are less well understood.

Rural communities in the Amazon basin traditionally rely on rivers and rain to meet freshwater needs.

But with increased pollution from mining, logging and industrial activities, they have also turned to digging wells.

"We sampled wells that are more than 20 years old, and some that were only a couple of weeks old," de Meyer said ahead of a press event Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union.

The field work, carried out with researchers from Peru and Brazil, focused on measuring chemical concentrations and did not examine health impacts.

"At this time, we cannot say how many people are affected," de Meyer said.

Much more data is needed to identify "hotspots" where levels of toxicity are especially high, and areas that rely heavily on wells for drinking water, she said.

The health consequences of arsenic in groundwater can take years, even decades, to become apparent. Unsurprisingly, awareness of the problem remains very low in the region.

By a chemical quirk of fate, the degree of poisoning has probably been blunted by the fact that water contaminated with arsenic also often contains iron.

Because iron causes water to turn reddish-brown, people often let it stand so that particles - including some of the arsenic - can settle to the bottom.

De Meyer first uncovered dangerous levels of arsenic in groundwater drawn for drinking at a couple of sites in the Peruvian Amazon, leading her to suspect the problem was more widespread.

The new findings are preliminary, and will be fleshed out in a peer-reviewed publication, probably later this year, de Meyer said.

The Amazon basin, drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries, covers some 7,500,000 square kilometers and is spread across eight countries.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

10-04-2018 | 15:35


Name
E-Mail
Comment Title
Comment
Human Verification


News Coverage

Related News

Search
To Top