Access to drinking-water and arsenicosis in Bangladesh.
The discovery of arsenic contamination in groundwater has challenged efforts to provide safe drinking-water to households in rural Bangladesh. Two nationally-representative surveys in 2000 and 2002 investigated water-usage patterns, water-testing, knowledge of arsenic poisoning, and behavioural responses to arsenic contamination. Knowledge of arsenicosis rose between the two surveys among women from 42% to 64% but awareness of consequences of arsenic remained limited; only 13% knew that it could lead to death. Behavioural responses to arsenic have been limited, probably in part because of the lack of concern but also because households are uncertain of how best to respond and have a strong preference for tubewell water even when wells are known to be contaminated. Further work conducted by the survey team highlighted the difficulties in providing alternative sources of water, with many households switching back to their original sources of water.
Caldwell, BK; Smith, WT; Lokuge, K; Ranmuthugala, G; Dear, K; Milton, AH; Sim, MR; Ng, JC; Mitra, SN
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