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Arsenic-21st Century Calamity- A Short Review

Author Affiliations

  • 1Environmental Science and Engineering Group, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi-835215, Jharkhand, INDIA

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 3, Issue (ISC-2013), Pages 7-13, (2014)


Arsenic, since its isolation in 1250 A.D by Albertus Magnus, has been a continuous centre of controversy. It belongs to the metalloid group of elements and known as a major contaminant in the environment. The source of occurrence of arsenic in the groundwater is natural as well as anthropogenic. The new EPA standard is 0.01 ppm on the recommendation of National Academy of Science. The first major case of arsenicosis was reported from Argentina in 1920’s and afterward it was reported from India in 1983 and soon it becomes a serious calamity in Bangladesh. Hitherto, more than 137 million people are suffering from arsenicosis. Arsenic is a protoplastic poison due to its effect on sulphydryl group of cells interfering with cell enzymes, cell respiration and mitosis. This is very important issue but much less discussed. The present study was conducted to review the studies conducted on arsenic and its mitigation. From a comprehensive literature review it was found that arsenicosis is a slow poison which manifest itself over a period of 5-20 years. This short review highlights and provides an overview of arsenic, its impact on health and available mitigation techniques. Conclusions have been drawn from the literature reviewed, and suggestions for future research are proposed.


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