Arsenic safe water and changes in severity of arsenical symptoms
Keywords:Arsenic and skin manifestations, Arsenic and systemic manifestations, Arsenic and safe water, Treatment of arsenicosis
Limited information is available in the literature regarding the long-term effect of chronic arsenic toxicity after stoppage of consumption of arsenic-containing water. Treatment options for the management symptoms of chronic arsenicosis are also limited. Mitigation option available for dealing with the health problem of ground water arsenic contamination rests mainly on supply of arsenic safe water in arsenic endemic region of Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent. The current study was therefore done to study the prevalence of arsenicosis and to assess the effect of drinking arsenic safe water (<50µg/L) on disease manifestation of arsenicosis. Manifestations of various skin lesions and systemic diseases associated with chronic arsenic exposure was ascertained initially by carrying on baseline study on 191 families having 1097 family members along with 44 children studying in Chouduar Primary School in Chouduar village of Malda District of West Bengal. The study population was taking water solely from a particular Chouduar primary school tube well with arsenic level >50 µg/L. The base line study findings were compared objectively at the end of six months follow up period after installation of a community filter at the Chouduar primary school tube well. Around 11.36% of school children had clinical features of suspected arsenicosis with mild keratosis either in the palm or sole. The prevalence was more common in males. 15.8% of the remaining study population was having one or more dermatological and non dermatological manifestations of arsenicosis and there was 1.94% decrease in prevalence of non dermatological manifestations without any change in dermatological manifestations after taking arsenic safe water at the end of 6 months of follow up study. Around 70% of population was not aware about adverse health effects of arsenicosis and not taking animal protein regularly.
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