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Science of The Total Environment: One third of world population drinks arsenic-contaminated water, study finds

Leisure

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found that millions of people around the world are drinking water with high levels of arsenic.

The respective research was published in the journal Science of The Total Environment.

According to the analysis, many countries around the world still use outdated World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for maximum allowable concentrations of arsenic in water of 50 mcg/L, or parts per billion. These countries include China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal, and their combined population is about 32 percent of the world's population.

 

Long-term exposure to arsenic in water used for drinking, cooking, or irrigation can cause a variety of health problems that affect every organ in the human body. Arsenic can lead to the development of cancer, diabetes, as well as lung and cardiovascular diseases.

In the study, researchers tested different levels of inorganic arsenic in cooking water, including 10 and 50 mcg/L, as well as arsenic-safe tap water at less than 0.2 ppb.

The researchers recommend that governments introduce stricter standards for arsenic levels in water and that their residents cook rice in large amounts of water, rather than steaming because the latter causes toxins to build up in the grain.

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