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    Home > News

    Groundwater arsenic pollution endangers nearly 20 million people

    Source: Center of Water Treatment Technology: the blue Time: 2015-08-26 Views: Times

    Groundwater arsenic pollution-symptoms

    Sun Guifan is examining the condition of arsenic poisoning patients

    http://euhowblog.com

    For more than 20 years, Wu Zhiqiang, a 47-year-old villager from Meng Keharigen Gacha in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has traveled to more than a dozen hospitals in Beijing and Beijing with a strange disease. His palms were densely packed with thorns ranging in size from calluses. "This layer of bitch is hard, and it hurts as soon as you take it." Wu Zhiqiang told China Youth Daily. He also grew a lot, black, white, and green, "like a flower carpet."
    The culprit that caused Lao Wu to catch this strange disease was the arsenic ranked 33 in the periodic table of chemical elements-its most known is its oxide, arsenic. Arsenic will ooze from the ground into the groundwater. Drinking groundwater with excessive arsenic for a long time will be prone to drinking water-type endemic arsenic poisoning (referred to as "ground arsenic disease"). In severe cases, it can cause lung cancer, skin cancer and other cancers.

    Groundwater arsenic pollution risk map in China

    Groundwater arsenic pollution risk map in China


    In a recent paper published in Science, the location of Wu Zhiqiang's village, and almost the entire Hetao Plain adjacent to it, were basically painted red or yellow, which means that Wu Zhiqiang lives in high-risk areas of water arsenic pollution. . According to the prediction model data provided by the article, like Lao Wu, there are 19.58 million Chinese living in high-risk areas where groundwater arsenic exceeds the standard.
    Shang Qi, deputy director of the Environmental Epidemiology Research Center of the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, expressed basic approval for this figure in an interview with reporters from China Youth Daily. One of the authors of the paper, Annette Johnson, pointed out the seriousness of the problem: "In high-risk areas, the danger of arsenic is accompanied by high population density."
    The second author of the paper, Sun Guifan, a professor at the School of Public Health, China Medical University, told reporters from China Youth Daily that for many years, in addition to the arsenic poisoning areas that have been found, the relevant departments have not been clear about where arsenic pollution is present in groundwater. "This model is simply too important." Sun Guifan said, "The water improvement technology is easy to implement, but the first thing is to know where arsenic pollution may exist."
    In a country as large as China, it is extremely difficult to monitor every groundwater well. In mid-August, Sun Guifan, who had just returned from Shenyang, Yunnan, to Shenyang, flew to Switzerland within a few days. In the past 20 years, he has traveled almost all over the country to carry out research on the harm of arsenic. At the Institute of Water Science and Technology of the Swiss Federal Government in Zurich, the "owner" of the "Science" magazine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a press conference for "Arsenic Pollution in Groundwater in China", which was jointly completed by researchers from Switzerland, China and Spain. The cover of this issue of Science magazine uses a "China water arsenic pollution risk map".

    Distribution of groundwater arsenic pollution exceeding standards

    Distribution of groundwater arsenic pollution exceeding standards


    On the way to the press conference, Sun Guifan also vividly remembered the scene he saw in Midu County. Because of the lack of water, local people have to use nearby hot spring water, which has a high arsenic concentration.
    As early as the 1960s, Chinese residents began to use pipe wells (also called hand-pressed wells) to draw groundwater for drinking water on a large scale. "The arsenic-contaminated groundwater is likely to be extracted through a hand-pressurized well," Sun Guifan said. "As a result of many factors such as geology and geochemistry, arsenic is easily dissolved into water from underground rock formations." World Health The current recommended value of arsenic content of groundwater given by the organization is 0.01 milligrams of arsenic per liter of water. If long-term drinking groundwater exceeds this value, it will cause arsenic harm.
    The village where Wu Zhiqiang is located has a population of 229. One out of ten villagers has arsenic poisoning. According to the village party secretary, three or four people, such as Wu Zhiqiang, are the most serious and have basically lost their labor.
    According to related studies, long-term intake of arsenic can cause skin pigmentation, hyperkeratosis of the palms and soles of the feet, liver disease, and damage to cardiovascular and renal functions. "The most serious is cancer." Sun Guifan said, "Arsenic is the first type of human carcinogen recognized by the International Cancer Organization, and this is an important reason for global attention."
    The Swiss press conference briefed researchers from the three countries on their research results over a four-year period. In a "China Water Arsenic Pollution Risk Map" provided by the article, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, and other places have been painted with darker reds and yellows that indicate more seriousness.
    In addition, some high-risk areas that were previously excluded and unknown are also marked, including areas such as western Liaoning, Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, the Jianghuai region, central Sichuan, and the Heihe Basin in Gansu. There are also risks in individual areas of Beijing.
    As early as four months before the dissertation was published, Zhou Jing, a PhD in chemistry from the University of Maryland, Barkshire, tweeted that there was almost 10 years of arsenic removal technology, and there was no data released by the country. She also emphasized: "This type of information is most welcome! No data makes technology useless."

    Groundwater Arsenic Pollution-Hand Symptoms


    From 2001 to 2005, the Ministry of Health organized national endemic research units to monitor arsenic pollution in 445,000 water wells in China, but this was less than one-eighth of the total. It is estimated that it will take 20 years to complete all . As Nick Winkinton, deputy editor-in-chief of Science magazine, pointed out at a press conference, "In a country as large as China, it is extremely difficult to monitor every groundwater well."
    In 2009, scientists from China, Switzerland, and the West began collaborating to try to predict a high-level distribution of arsenic concentrations in groundwater in China with a new model.
    Unlike the individual arsenic pollution incidents caused by humans, the natural pollution of groundwater is more universal. "Our team involves multiple disciplines and multiple countries." Sun Guifan particularly emphasized the special nature of this cooperation. "There are geological, Geochemical, hydrological, remotely controlled, Chinese researchers are directly involved in human health, as well as specific water sample collection and testing. "
    Researchers at each exhibition collected 8 parameters including geographic parameters, chemical indicators, physical indicators, and soil geology required for the model. The goal was to draw a map of arsenic pollution risks. "For example, the geology of Inner Mongolia was formed during the Holocene (11500 years ago to the present, the youngest geological period), and arsenic in the stratum was easily dissolved in groundwater; arsenic in saline-alkali land was also easily dissolved in groundwater." Sun Guifan explained .
    The more parameters there are, the greater the risk of local arsenic exceeding the standard. Based on these eight indicators, combined with the results of sampling surveys in more than 2,600 villages, researchers calculated on the map that there is a risk of groundwater arsenic exceeding the standard. The places with the highest probability of risk are painted dark red.
    This model can achieve an accuracy of 1 square kilometer, "the area of one or two villages". But researchers also know that the arsenic concentration in each well will change greatly within a short distance. This is the characteristic of arsenic pollution in groundwater. Sometimes the arsenic content in wells from two villagers' yards separated by a wall may be very different. .
    In model verification, the results show that the prediction of arsenic-contaminated areas can reach 77% accuracy, and the accuracy of predicted non-contaminated areas can reach more than 85%. Sun Guifan pointed out: "The model prediction is to point out the areas that may be contaminated with arsenic, and the water arsenic concentration of which well must be tested."
    As for the population data of 19.58 million, it is calculated from the coverage area with a precision of one square kilometer according to a United Nations website on population density on the surface of the earth.
    "But we cannot say that 19.58 million people are poisoned by arsenic. What we are talking about is that the groundwater covered by the area may be arsenic contaminated." Sun Guifan told China Youth Daily. "This number also includes urban populations in risk areas, and urban populations drink tap water. Of course this part of the crowd should be removed. "

    Groundwater arsenic pollution news report

    Groundwater arsenic pollution news report


    This means that if you subtract the urban population who drink tap water, the figure of 19.58 million will shrink. "Urban tap water has undergone water treatment technology, and the arsenic content is up to standard." Sun Guifan pointed out.
    Shang Qi also emphasized that, unlike other drinking water quality standards, the excessive levels of arsenic in groundwater in these areas have nothing to do with human pollution. "The arsenic existing in the stratum can be naturally dialyzed into the groundwater." Shang Qi said, "unlike human-made arsenic pollution is an individual event, the problem of groundwater is more universal."
    Chen Tongbin, director of the Environmental Restoration Research Center of the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Resources of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, pointed out that according to the National Sampling and Screening Program for Water Arsenic Pollution launched by the Ministry of Health, the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 14.7 million people lived in water arsenic as early as 2005. Over-standard areas, of which 5.6 million people live in high-risk areas.
    "In the beginning, who would think that they were drinking arsenic every day?"
    Sun Guifan talked about the significance of the thesis and excitedly said two "too important". He believes that the key to this risk map is that some high-risk areas have been newly discovered. According to media evaluations, this is the first time that the list of high-risk areas of groundwater arsenic pollution has been refreshed on a large scale.
    In fact, the third author of the paper, Michael Berg from the Swiss Federal Institute of Water Science and Technology, created a "arsenic pollution risk map" for Southeast Asia and Bangladesh 5 years ago-this is the first A Risk Map of Arsenic Pollution in Groundwater—published in Nature Earth Science.
    "China is one of the most severe places for arsenic poisoning except Bangladesh." Sun Guifan said. According to data cited by the well-known medical journal The Lancet, one out of every five deaths in Bangladesh is due to arsenic poisoning and related diseases caused by it.
    According to related reports, China's first patient with arsenic poisoning in drinking water was found in Xinjiang in 1980, and it was subsequently discovered in provinces such as Inner Mongolia and Shanxi. In the early 1990s, the health department listed ground arsenic disease as one of the five major endemic diseases in China.
    Arsenic poisoning is a chronic disease, and some have an incubation period of decades. In 1987, when Wu Zhiqiang first discovered that his skin was abnormal, he was diagnosed by the local doctor with common skin diseases such as corns. During his long seeking medical treatment, he sometimes told the doctor that he was poisoned with arsenic, but he was asked back: "What is arsenic?"

    Lost groundwater in China

    Lost groundwater in China


    "After arsenic accumulated in the body for more than ten or twenty years, cases from various places finally appeared in the 1980s." In 1993, Sun Guifan returned from Japan to study at the time, when the health department just designated arsenic poisoning as an endemic disease. "At that time, the people were shocked, and they all reflected to the State Council." Sun Guifan recalled, "At that time, I felt it was of great significance, so I must work hard to study the disease."
    Like Wu Zhiqiang, the patients that Sun Guifan contacted in the early days did not know what kind of illness he had. Some felt dizziness and headache, thought they were tired from working. Some skin keratosis occurred, and they went to the dermatologist to see a doctor. "In the beginning, who would think that they were drinking arsenic every day?"

    \\ Groundwater arsenic pollution-drinking water

    \ Groundwater arsenic pollution-drinking water


    Talking about the prevention and treatment of ground arsenic, Sun Guifan's answer is very simple: "Nothing else is to change the water."
    According to reports, during the "11th Five-Year Plan" period, the state invested billions of yuan to improve water supply. In the past 20 years, only the team led by Sun Guifan has continuously found villages with excessive groundwater arsenic, and then the health department will test and report to the Ministry of Water Resources for water improvement.
    "These previously obvious ward and polluted areas have been changed." Sun Guifan told reporters, "There is no major technical problem in water improvement. Quotations from reservoirs, lakes, deep wells, or polluted water are extracted Water treatment is needed to change the water. "Now Meng Ke Harigen Gacha has all used clean mountain spring water to control the illness in the village.
    However, these are only for the problem of excessive arsenic in groundwater. Chen Tongbin pointed out that arsenic pollution still exists in the soil, "remediation of arsenic pollution in soil is much more difficult." In his office, there are pots of yarrow that absorb arsenic in the soil. "This is by far the most effective way to remove arsenic from the soil," he said, pointing to a pot of yarrow.

    Groundwater Arsenic Pollution-Rivers

    Groundwater Arsenic Pollution-Rivers


    But for Wu Zhiqiang, arsenic has destroyed his life. Today, Wu Zhiqiang has divorced and lives in a 20-square-meter rental house with his mother and son, living on subsistence allowances. In July of this year, he went to the hospital for an examination. The doctor cut a piece of "meat nail" for testing and told him that his condition had not deteriorated. Then he added: "It is not necessarily good to not drink this water for 10 years."
    In 2009, scientists from China, Switzerland, and the West began collaborating to try to predict a high-level distribution of arsenic concentrations in groundwater in China with a new model.
    Unlike the individual arsenic pollution incidents caused by humans, the natural pollution of groundwater is more universal. "Our team involves multiple disciplines and multiple countries." Sun Guifan particularly emphasized the special nature of this cooperation. "There are geological, Geochemical, hydrological, remotely controlled, Chinese researchers are directly involved in human health, as well as specific water sample collection and testing. "
    Researchers at each exhibition collected 8 parameters including geographic parameters, chemical indicators, physical indicators, and soil geology required for the model. The goal was to draw a map of arsenic pollution risks. "For example, the geology of Inner Mongolia was formed during the Holocene (11500 years ago to the present, the youngest geological period), and arsenic in the stratum was easily dissolved into groundwater; arsenic in saline-alkali land was also easily dissolved into groundwater." Sun Guifan explained .

    Groundwater arsenic pollution

    Groundwater arsenic pollution

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