Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bangladesh / Ecocide / Structural Violence

Arsenic Could Kill Millions in Bangladesh -- Study
By Julie Steenhuysen
Reuters dispatch, June 18, 2010
"Tens of millions of people in Bangladesh have been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic from drinking contaminated groundwater, putting them at risk of an early death, U.S. researchers said on Friday. They said more than 20 percent of deaths in a 10-year study of 12,000 Bangladeshis were caused by arsenic exposure from contaminated drinking water. 'Tens of millions of people there are at high risk of dying early. Something needs to be done urgently to reduce the exposure to arsenic for this population and find alternative, safe drinking water sources,' said Dr. Habibul Ahsan of the University of Chicago Medical Center, whose study appears in the Lancet. Arsenic causes cancer and is toxic to the liver, skin, kidney and the cardiovascular system. Ahsan said the West Bengal region of India, Argentina, Chile and parts of Mexico and the US states of Nevada, New Mexico and New Hampshire have areas where people drink groundwater from arsenic-contaminated wells.
Ahsan's team estimates as many as 77 million people, or half the population of Bangladesh, have been exposed to toxic levels of the poisonous element since the installation of hand-pumped wells to tap groundwater in the South Asian country in the 1970s. The World Health Organization said in a statement the exposure was 'the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.' [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Peter Prontzos for bringing this source to my attention.]

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