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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 00:17 GMT
Students craft arsenic water test
Bangladeshi women collect water
Up to 35 million Bangladeshis are drinking arsenic-contaminated water
Edinburgh University scientists and students have devised a simple test to detect the presence of arsenic in untreated water supplies.

Arsenic poisoning is thought to affect up to 100 million people worldwide, with about one million people believed to have developed cancer as a result.

Nine students from the university's School of Biological Sciences developed the colour-coded test system.

The university said it hoped to secure funding to develop the technology.

The test, which would cost around 50p to manufacture, uses a modified version of E. coli bacteria.

When the bacteria detect arsenic, they release acid.

The water turns red if there is a major contamination, it stays the same with a small arsenic presence and turns blue if there is no contamination.

The World Health Organization has estimated that up to 35 million people in Bangladesh alone are drinking arsenic-contaminated water.

The test could help third-world villages

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