Screening of arsenic in tubewell water with field test kits: evaluation of the method from public health perspective.

Jakariya, M; Vahter, M; Rahman, M; Wahed, MA; Hore, SK; Bhattacharya, P; Jacks, G; Persson, LA; (2007) Screening of arsenic in tubewell water with field test kits: evaluation of the method from public health perspective. The Science of the total environment, 379 (2-3). pp. 167-75. ISSN 0048-9697 DOI:

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There is an urgent need for Bangladesh to identify the arsenic (As) contaminated tubewells (TWs) in order to assess the health risks and initiate appropriate mitigation measures. This will involve testing water in millions of TWs and raising community awareness about the health problems related to chronic As exposure from drinking water. Field test kits offer the only practical tool within the time frame and financial resources available for screening and assessment of the As contaminated TWs as well as their monitoring than that of the laboratory measurement. A comparison of field test kit and laboratory measurements by AAS as "gold standard" for As in water of 12,532 TWs in Matlab Upazila in Bangladesh, indicates that the field kit correctly determined the status of 91% of the As levels compared to the Bangladesh Drinking Water Standard (BDWS) of 50 microg/L, and 87% of the WHO guideline value of 10 microg/L. Nevertheless, due to analytical and human errors during the determination of As by the field test kits, some misclassification of wells is inevitable. Cross-checking of the field test kit results, both by Field Supervisor and by the laboratory analyses reveal considerable discrepancies in the correct screening mainly at As concentration ranges of 10-24.9 microg/L and 50-99.9 microg/L, critical from a public health point of view. The uncertainties of misclassification of these two groups of TWs have severe public health implications due to As exposure from drinking water sources. This can be reduced through proper training of the field personnel, cross verification of the field test kit results with laboratory analyses and further development of the field test kits to determine As at low concentrations.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 17258792
Web of Science ID: 247354700005


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