Earth & Environment


Arsenic in Groundwater

2009 | IGRAC | map

Arsenic in Groundwater: Probability of occurrence of excessive concentration on global scale; an update


Long-term exposure to arsenic through drinking contamined water can result in a chronic arsenic poisoning. Known symptoms are: cancer of the skin, lungs, urinary blades, and kidney as well as other skin changes such as pigmentation and thickening (source WHO: Arsenic in Drinking Water). The concentrations vary markedly in the environment, partly in relation to geology and partly as a result of human activity (Plant et al, 2004). Natural sources are connected to various types of rocks and to geothermal activity. Industrial activities, especially mining can also contribute to an increased arsenic concentration in groundwater.

In 2007 and 2004, IGRAC already published maps on the probability of occurrence of high As concentrations in groundwater. While working at IGRAC, I updated these maps whenever new information became available.