Arsenic in Drinking Water in Term Paper

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Transportation - Environmental Issues
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #72898994

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Water-flow problems such as this one described in Thailand attribute to much of arsenic flow in drinking water throughout the world. For example, flat, low-lying areas such as large plains and delta regions are more prone to high arsenic ground waters. The process of delta development also leads to high deposit levels, because the higher the delta, the less flushing is likely to have occurred.

Research Limitations and Assumptions

The limitations of studies involving arsenic levels in drinking water supplies is that the health risks associated with such levels were not identified until much later. As a result, there is little data ranging from the time period where the levels were first likely to have started to effect people. In other words, detailed studies and notes must be taken to provide a sounder basis for understanding the causes of the problem as it applies in a time frame. Other limitations include the fact that local geology and hydrogeology have not been measured to include water level monitoring, studies or mineralogy, chemical composition and adsorption behavior of aquifer materials. Either purpose built piezometers or suitable production wells should be monitored for changes in arsenic and other water quality parameters; however, such studies are expensive and are not warranted unless the scale of the problem is large. Thus, an important limitation is that unless million of people are affected, as in the case in Bangladesh, this type of monitoring may not occur.

Additional limitations include the fact that since high arsenic ground waters are found in aquifers in which the sediments have been deposited in the last ten thousand years, these deposits will be flushed away. As long as these sediments are flushed away in the normal ground water flow, it may be unknown what levels existed there or were deposited there to begin with. Thus, an important limitation is the timescale of the arsenic being deposited which is difficult if not impossible to detect, even with the proper equipment. Also, wells that are currently arsenic free does not give a guarantee that they will remain that way in the future. Other limitations include the fact that in poorer countries in which arsenic in the drinking water supply does exist, the country cannot afford to pay for this type of testing or lacks testing facilities. Significant changes in arsenic transport transportation in groundwater may occur locally due to the influence of mining, groundwater pumping and irrigation. Other limitations include the possibility that heavy pumping of deep aquifers could draw contaminated groundwater down to the aquifer, or that poor well construction may lead to the rapid movement of contaminated water. As a result, new developments must be implemented to deal with this problem before it takes years to become apparent.

New Developments

New developments must dealt with the challenging issue of identifying and mitigating existing contaminated wells. Those most badly contaminated must be addressed first, and then other water sources that have not ever been evaluated must be evaluated and tested. New developments could consist of a new method of flushing out arsenic contaminated sources, at a cost that is low enough fro poorer countries to afford. Rural communities in developing countries pose the biggest threat, which is poorly understood by these poverty stricken communities. As indicated by a review of the literature, many of the worst problems occur in poor countries that do not have the necessary infrastructure and financial means to be able to properly respond. The U.S. has many companies that manufacture household and industrial level water filters that can test the levels of arsenic and filter arsenic from drinking water supplies. Unfortunately, not all countries can afford these products, as there are other life threatening issues that they must deal with first, such as starvation.

Personal Thoughts

In the area involving contaminated water supplies, I believe that some of the information available appears to be conflicting with the available and timely solutions. Most of these conflicts rest between the U.S. And other parts of the world. For example, arsenic was noted as a significant problem contributing to health hazards in Bangladesh and West Bengal in the 1980s and early 1990s, but it does not appear that this problem is even on its way to being solved. It is now roughly about 15 to 17 years later, and the water supplies in these poorer countries are still contaminated. If the U.S. EPA offers financial assistance to local governments to assist them comply with regulations, it is assumable that the WHO could do the same, especially for poor countries where it is obvious that compliance is an issue. Also, there does not seem to be any penalties for not complying with the WHO regulations and standards, because many countries are not in compliance. The WHO should recognize that a viable health risk exists, and that this risk could potentially be transferred in the future to other nearby countries in accordance with the natural flow of water sources.

I believe that the topic could be expanded to include other potential health hazards that are just as harmful as arsenic that exist in drinking water supplies. Large companies such as water distributors and manufacturers of water filtering and treatment equipment, such as Culligan International Company, could lead the way and assist funding new studies or contributing testing equipment to nations. Additionally, since it took so long to recognize arsenic as a health problem, maybe there are other substances in water that are just as harmful. Many households in the U.S. have the ability to purchase water treatment and filtering equipment for their own homes, to get rid of "hard" water. Large corporations in the U.S. regularly conduct tests to prove why "soft" water is better for laundry and cleaning than hard water. The problem of arsenic in the drinking water supply in the U.S. is so minimal that large water companies are focusing on other means to sell water filtering devices to consumers. Instead of this focus, international companies should shift their focus on water to the harms caused by arsenic and methods of protecting the available water supply. These large corporations should not only be willing to assist those in the U.S. with equipment, but mainly poorer countries that cannot afford this type of equipment.

I believe that this topic could lead the way for an expansion of studies regarding an improved means to cleanse arsenic from the water supply. This new focus should shift to poorer countries, where people do not even have access to the proper medical treatment to treat symptoms and illnesses related to contaminated water. There does not appear to be enough research in this area, and the existing research lacks a proper time-analysis of existing contamination. Finally, this is an important concern that must be addressed in the near future, as global health is at risk by drinking water.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2006). Arsenic in Drinking Water. Retrieved December 13, 2006, at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic/basicinformation.html.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2006). Arsenic in Drinking Water. Retrieved December 13, 2006, at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic/index.html.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2006). Arsenic in Drinking Water. Retrieved December 13, 2006, at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic/regulations_factsheet.html.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

Commission on Life Sciences. (1999). Arsenic in Drinking Water. National Academy Press.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

World Health Organization. (2006). Arsenic in Drinking Water. Retrieved December 14, 2006, at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/arsenic/en/print.html.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

Subcommittee on Arsenic in Drinking Water, National Research Council. (1999). Arsenic in Drinking Water. National Academy Press.

Howard, G. (2003). Arsenic, drinking water and health risk substitution in arsenic mitigation: A discussion paper. Retrieved December 13, 2006, at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

Subcommittee on Arsenic in Drinking Water, National Research Council. (1999). Arsenic in Drinking Water. National Academy Press.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

Howard, G. (2003). Arsenic, drinking water and health risk substitution in arsenic mitigation: A discussion paper. Retrieved December 13, 2006, at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq.

Smedley, P. & Kinniburgh, D. Source and Behavior of Arsenic in Natural Waters. British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10BB, U.K.

Online Sources Used in Document:

Cite This Term Paper:

"Arsenic In Drinking Water In" (2006, December 14) Retrieved January 18, 2017, from
http://www.paperdue.com/essay/arsenic-in-drinking-water-40913

"Arsenic In Drinking Water In" 14 December 2006. Web.18 January. 2017. <
http://www.paperdue.com/essay/arsenic-in-drinking-water-40913>

"Arsenic In Drinking Water In", 14 December 2006, Accessed.18 January. 2017,
http://www.paperdue.com/essay/arsenic-in-drinking-water-40913