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Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Concern over arsenic in Bangladeshi water

Experts attending a conference on arsenic contamination of drinking water say several thousand people in Bangladesh may have fallen seriously ill because of the problem.

Official figures indicate fifteen people have so far died because of arsenic poisoning, but doctors at the conference -- which is being held in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka -- estimate the problem is much more widespread, with up to eighty percent of the population exposed to the danger.

Correspondents say the problem has been caused by the use of water from newly sunk wells instead of rivers and streams.

Ground water in several areas in Bangladesh contains high levels of arsenic. A Bangladeshi MP has brought a court case against two ministries and four international aid and development organisations over the promotion of wells using ground water.

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