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Comparison of drinking water, raw rice and cooking of rice as arsenic exposure routes in three contrasting areas of west Bengal, India

Mondal, D, Banerjee, M, Giri, AK and Polya, D 2010, 'Comparison of drinking water, raw rice and cooking of rice as arsenic exposure routes in three contrasting areas of west Bengal, India' , Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 32 (6) , 463 -477.

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Remediation aimed at reducing human exposure to groundwater arsenic in West Bengal, one of the regions most impacted by this environmental hazard, are currently largely focussed on reducing arsenic in drinking water. Rice and cooking of rice, however, have also been identified as important or potentially important exposure routes. Quantifying the relative importance of these exposure routes is critically required to inform the prioritisation and selection of remediation strategies. The aim of our study, therefore, was to determine the relative contributions of drinking water, rice and cooking of rice to human exposure in three contrasting areas of West Bengal with different overall levels of exposure to arsenic, viz. high (Bhawangola-I Block, Murshidibad District), moderate (Chakdha Block, Nadia District) and low (Khejuri-I Block, Midnapur District). Arsenic exposure from water was highly variable, median exposures being 0.02 mu g/kg/d (Midnapur), 0.77 mu g/kg/d (Nadia) and 2.03 mu g/kg/d (Murshidabad). In contrast arsenic exposure from cooked rice was relatively uniform, with median exposures being 0.30 mu g/kg/d (Midnapur), 0.50 mu g/kg/d (Nadia) and 0.84 mu g/kg/d (Murshidabad). Cooking rice typically resulted in arsenic exposures of lower magnitude, indeed in Midnapur, median exposure from cooking was slightly negative. Water was the dominant route of exposure in Murshidabad, both water and rice were major exposure routes in Nadia, whereas rice was the dominant exposure route in Midnapur. Notwithstanding the differences in balance of exposure routes, median excess lifetime cancer risk for all the blocks were found to exceed the USEPA regulatory threshold target cancer risk level of 10(-4)-10(-6). The difference in balance of exposure routes indicate a difference in balance of remediation approaches in the three districts.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0269-4042
Related URLs:
Funders: British Council
Depositing User: Dr Debapriya Mondal
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2013 13:22
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:56

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