GLOBAL were still exposed to arsenic which is still

                                           GLOBAL HEALTH

                              Arsenic poisoning
in Bangladesh

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

                                 
Ruksana Khatun    162233

 

INTRODUCTION                                                            

 Arsenic in Bangladesh has Captivated a lot of
attention since the 1990s of its wide appearance in tube wells. Since that
time, although major progress has been made and the number of people exposed to
arsenic in Bangladesh the water quality standard has decreased by approximately
40%. Despite these efforts it is still estimated that in 2012 about 19 million
people in Bangladesh were still exposed to arsenic which is still above the
national standard. Smith, et al, (2000) Water is an essential part for everyday
life, without it there would be no life. When this is at risk for millions of
people, it then becomes a call for action for those who are capable of helping.

 The topic I have chosen will take a closer
look on the health effects caused by arsenic in the groundwater of Bangladesh,
and the possible ways to helping these people. 

With a population
estimated, 164.67 million, in 2017 (Tradingeconomics.com,).
It is estimated a possible 70 million
people are currently at risk for arsenic poisoning in the Bangladesh area,
resulting in a major health crisis and need for clean water. The effects of
Arsenic poisoning are terrifying, and effect people after many years of
drinking this contaminated water (www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs372/en/,
n d.)

HISTORY

  In the 70’s before tube wells were introduced
the people of Bangladesh drank surface water sources for their day to day
needs, due to the contamination of Microorganism which led to infectious
diseases and mortality this also had health hazards like cholera so in order to
prevent this as well as other Water-Bourne deceases. Tube wells were introduced
because of the simplicity of use and installation and affordable. Ten million
tube wells were installed by the year 2000. Rahman et al.

(2007)

ARSENIC

Arsenic in water is colourless,
tasteless, and odourless. Exposure to high amounts Arsenic is a naturally
occurring mineral found in the earth’s crust, it is hard and used in
conjunction with iron to make a stronger metal. Arsenic can be transported
through the air, and through water when dissolved underground into water
systems.

It can be melted, but it requires
an extremely high melting point. When It is

transported through underground water it dissolves in that
water, and then enters into the ground systems. The health crisis in Bangladesh
is caused by dissolving Arsenic into underground water systems that thousands
depend on. Arsenic is naturally a very brittle material, so its break down is a
simple process. As it breaks down into smaller particles, it dissolves into the
underground water systems. Those waters systems flow into shallow tube wells
used by many for every day use. A tube well is a pump well that uses suction to
pull water from a shallow well in the ground to the surface and these wells are
often contaminated with high levels of Arsenic, which causes poisoning to those
who drink the water over long periods of time. Smith, et al, (2000)

 

 

HEALTH EFFECTS

Although the
world health organisation (WHO) has set temporary guidelines with the value of
0.01 MG/L for arsenic in drinking water the government of Bangladesh however
has set their own provisional water quality standard of 0.05 arsenic in
drinking water. An overview of Arsenic Issues and Mitigation Initiatives in
Bangladesh January – 2003(2003) The serious health effects to arsenic poisoning
can start with hardening of the skin then there are painful sores called
lesions that can easily become infected, swollen limbs, and loss of feeling to
the hands and feet. Also a wide range of cancers are linked to arsenic
exposure. Lung cancer is the most common cause of death among people with
arsenic poisoning. (Who.int, 2012). Though many of these effects do not appear
immediately, those who have been exposed enough to see signs Where unaware of
their exposure until it was too late. depending on the levels and the amount of
time at which they are consumed will determine how severe the symptoms are. The
higher the concentration and longer the time, would prove fatal. When a person
has had at least five year’s exposure to arsenic by consumption, the affects
become visible in the skin. Lesions, hard patches on the soles and palms or
even a change in pigmentation. Longer than this period risks of cancer becomes
high. It was estimated that between 35 to 77 million people in Bangladesh were
exposed to arsenic in their drinking water. It was described as the largest
mass poisoning in history Who.int,(
2012)

  

SOCIAL IMPACTS

 Arsenic poisoning has different social effects
in Bangladesh from other parts of the world. Apart from its dangers, arsenic
poisoning created a severe social impact for a person who is affected as well
as their families in Bangladesh. Often people were made social outcasts as
result of it, it was considered a contagious disease amongst their community,
they were banned from social activities and gatherings. Any symptoms on a child
would prevent by their own families from sending them to school to suppress the
problem.  Bangladesh, is country where a
woman is judged upon her natural beauty, a married woman affected with arsenic
poisoning would most often be divorced by her spouse, causing homelessness and
poverty for the woman and her children. 
and the chances of a female getting married with this disease was almost
non-existent. There was a huge difference in opinion between people with the
disease and people that were not affected. Hassan MM, (2005) In regards to
female reproduction, it has been shown that arsenic skin lesions are associated
with early-onset menopause, with chronic high arsenic exposure resulting in a
two-year earlier menopause and reduced reproductive period. Yunus et al., (2016) Qualitative methods were used to establish the social
impact that arsenic poisoning had on people. It was found that their views were
extremely unfavourable. Hassan MM, (2005). 

 

 

Effects on pregnant women and young children

A study was conducted in two parts of an area in
Bangladesh called Matlab, which is one of the most effected parts. In one area,
where a large Maternal, Child Health, and Family Planning Program had been
running. The other was an area like other areas the ladies were receiving
monthly visits from a Community health research worker. A number of women in
Bangladesh were tested and it was found that breastfeeding for the duration of
twelve months the arsenic exposure of infants was limited. Therefore, the
observed arsenic exposure was most likely to occur during prenatal stages. That
research showed that arsenic passes through the placenta to the foetus and not
necessarily through breast milk. Rahman et al,(2007).   

Morbidity and infectious diseases
such as Respiratory, Tract Infection (LRTI and diarrhoea during infancy up to
the age of five years of age, was also linked to Prenatal arsenic exposure. It
affected the neuro development of children, which after birth progressed and
increased the risk of drowning up to the age of five. Yunus et al., (2016).

 

Behaviour/ ACTION

The switchover from surface water to
groundwater to reduce diarrhoea was incredibly effective and deaths from
diarrhoea had dropped dramatically. however, trying to encourage people to stop
drinking tube well water has proven somewhat difficult. around 97% of the
population in the rural parts of Bangladesh depend on tube wells for drinking
water, and switching from tube wells to other arsenic-free sources could be
extremely difficult, because arsenic is tasteless, has no colour or smell, and
the health risks are long-term, not immediate, like surface water. It has
become a challenge, as people are not interested.

UNICEF’s
largest arsenic response programme. And Bangladesh
Government’s Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) worked together
also with NGOs in some parts of
Bangladesh which have been very badly affected. With the support of DPHE
engineers. They carried out the very first nationwide survey of tube wells
which is how they realised how major this problem. Which then prompted a
national screening programme on tube wells all over the nation. using field
test kits