[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 15:14 GMT
Focus on Bangladesh arsenic risk
By Roland Buerk
BBC correspondent in Dhaka

Bangladeshi women collect water
Millions of Bangladeshis may be drinking unsafe water
Experts from around the world are gathering in Bangladesh for a conference on arsenic contamination of ground water.

Scientists estimate 85 million people in the country are drinking water that contains dangerous levels of the chemical.

It leads to severe health problems, including cancer.

The three-day conference is taking place at Dhaka Community Hospital, a world leader in the field of arsenic poisoning.

Scientists, doctors and representatives of aid agencies will be discussing progress in the campaign to make Bangladesh's drinking water safe.

The conference has been organised by Professor Qazi Karuzzaman of Dhaka Community Hospital.

Tests

Most people in Bangladesh get their supplies from tube wells.

But across much of Bangladesh the water from underground is contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic, which causes skin and liver conditions as well as cancer.

It is contained in the sediments washed down the rivers that pass through the country before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

The Indian state of West Bengal which borders Bangladesh is similarly affected.

But just one in five wells have been tested, and fewer than 10% of villages where arsenic has been detected are being supplied with alternative sources of safe water.




SEE ALSO:
Bangladesh arsenic case begins
25 Mar 03  |  South Asia
Bangladesh's arsenic water concern
22 Nov 02  |  Science/Nature
Water filter set to save lives
14 Jul 02  |  South Asia
Arsenic poses stroke risk
26 Mar 02  |  Health
Arsenic poisoning
27 Sep 99  |  Medical notes


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific