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Arsenic in Pakistan ground-water ‘alarmingly high’

MIAMI | AFP | Wednesday 8/23/2017 – Levels of arsenic in the groundwater of eastern Pakistan are “alarmingly high” and pose a significant health hazard to tens of millions of people who drink the water, researchers said Wednesday.
The study in the journal Science Advances is the first to create a comprehensive map of arsenic in the groundwater across Pakistan, and follows earlier, smaller studies that showed high arsenic levels in some places.
Groundwater samples were taken from nearly 1,200 sites throughout the country, and researchers used a model to project the likelihood of increased arsenic concentrations for all of Pakistan.
Areas in eastern Punjab — which includes Lahore — and around Hyderabad were especially likely to have groundwater that exposes large numbers of people to arsenic contamination.
Many parts of the densely populated plains along the Indus River and its tributaries showed arsenic concentrations in groundwater were higher than the World Health Organization guideline of 10 micrograms per liter, said the report.
“Very high concentrations, above 200 micrograms/liter, are found mainly in the south,” it warned.
Overall, 50 to 60 million people use groundwater which very likely contains more than 50 micrograms per liter, or five times higher than WHO guidelines.


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