Online focal point for the environmental health disaster in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, where millions of people are drinking ground water heavily contaminated with arsenic. Site includes infobank of news articles, scientific papers, comprehensive links to other relevant sites, online forum, email newsletter, and local site search. Additional keywords: pollution, environment, disaster, arsenicosis, heavy metal, toxicity.  If you have a link or document that should be included, please tell us at

You are visitor West Bengal India & Bangladesh Arsenic Crisis since 7 Jan 98

groundwater The Arsenic Crisis

An environmental health disaster is unfolding in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Tens of millions of persons in many districts are drinking ground water with arsenic concentrations far above acceptable levels. Thousands of people have already been diagnosed with poisoning symptoms, even though much of the at-risk population has not yet been assessed for arsenic-related health problems. 

Over the last two decades in Bengal, untreated tube well water was heavily promoted and developed as a safe and environmentally acceptable alternative to microbiologically unsafe untreated surface water. In the 1980s, scientists began finding evidence of arsenic contamination, but only very recently (mid-1990s) has the crisis emerged into broad public awareness. The origin of the arsenic pollution is geological in this case - the arsenic is released to groundwater under naturally occurring aquifer conditions.


Probability of arsenic exceeding 0.05 mg/l
"Analyses based on 18,417 (4,125 lab) aggregated by union.  The surface estimated based on the union-wise probability assigned to the centroid of each union.  Calculation by IDW using a fixed radius of 7.5 km, a 1.5 km grid, and 3.125 union data points."

Color version of Fig. 1, Arsenic in groundwater: testing pollution mechanisms for sedimentary aquifers in Bangladesh. J.M. McArthur, P. Ravenscroft, S. Safiullah and M.F. Thirlwall.  Water Resources Research, in press.  J.M. McArthur. View the paper at the London Arsenic Group website. 

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External arsenic links - Comprehensive, fully-annotaed lists of external links organized in the following areas:

Arsenic reference list - Comprehensive  list of relevant articles & books, with links to abstracts & full text

Arsenic conferences - With links to abstracts & proceedings

Arsenic info in the real world - Printed books reports, brochures, newsletters, videos, &c available for order; document collections; and such like real-world off-line things

Arsenic files stored at this site - Documents & other information  stored at this site - see list.  

Arsenic files stored at - in the files area of the current and former arsenic discussion groups:

Site update history - What was added when.

clean water Arsenic Crisis News

Arsenic Crisis News is the largest email newsletter and discussion group dedicated to the Bengal arsenic crisis and related situations worldwide.  ACN currently has 1100+ subscribers in 30+ countries around the world.  Subscribe!  Topics covered include: 

  • Arsenic geochemistry, geohydrology, measurement & analysis techniques, etc.
  • Alternative water supplies & water treatment technologies
  • Epidemiology, disease mechanisms, symptoms, treatments

water pollution ACIC Membership

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ACIC Member 2003-4

ACIC Members 2002-3

ACIC Members 2000-1

  • Resource Planning & Management Consultants (RPMC), Dhaka

  • London Arsenic Group

  • Gregory P. Miller

  • Arup K. SenGupta, Lehigh University

  • Dr. Suzanne Hanchett, Planning Alternatives for Change (shanchett@igc .org)

  • Ferdous Mahmood, Malcolm Pirnie

  • Don Schroeder, SIM Bangladesh (

  • Special thanks to RPMC for providing office space & use of a computer November 2000 - June 2001.

water pollution Site update history

Nov 03 Housekeeping, new conference added.
May-Jun 03 Merged new information from the May 2003 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News.  Added a new page on the court cases / lawsuits in the UK courts by Bangladeshis against the British Geological Survey. Repaired broken links.
25 Apr 03 Merged new information from the April 2003 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News.
23 Apr 03 Merged new information from the March 2003 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News.  Some structural improvements & general housecleaning.
11 Feb 03 Merged new information from the February 2003 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News
17 Jan 03 Merged new information from the December 2002 / January 2003 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News
22 Oct 02 Merged new information from the October-November 2002 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News
07 Oct 02 Merged new information from the October 2002 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News
12 Jun 01 Merged new information from the June 2001 issue of the Arsenic Crisis News
30 May 01 Merged new information from May 2001 issue of Arsenic Crisis News
24 May 01 Merged new information from April 2001 issue of Arsenic Crisis News
25 Mar 01 Merged new information from March 2001 issue of Arsenic Crisis News
10 Feb 01 Merged new information from January 2001 issue of Arsenic Crisis News
18 Dec 00 Added links to three new conferences - all in Australia in July 2001.

13 Dec 00

Site overhaul continues. New map added to home page, new references added, links to new EGIS website and to NGO Forum website added.

30 Nov 00

General maintenance & some restructuring of the site

Added links to arsenic discussion groups at

Added to Site Infobank:  Arsenic sections of Draft Development Strategy of the National Water Management Plan [Bangladesh, Aug 2000]