This study considers potential policy responses to the still very high levels of exposure to arsenic (As) caused by drinking water from shallow tubewells in rural Bangladesh. It examines a survey of 4,109 households in 76 villages of Araihazar upazila conducted two years after a national testing campaign swept through the area. The area is adjacent to the region where a long-term study was initiated in 2000 and where households are periodically reminded of health risks associated with well-water elevated in As. Results confirm that testing spurs switching away from unsafe wells, although the 27% fraction who switched was only about half of that in the long-term study area. By village, the fraction of households that switched varied with the availability of safe wells and the distance from the long-term study area. Lacking follow-up testing, two years only after the campaign 21% of households did not know the status of their well and 21% of households with an unsafe well that switched did so to an untested well. Well testing is again urgently needed in Bangladesh and should be paired with better ways to raise awareness and the installation of additional deep community wells.
Reduction in exposure to arsenic from drinking well-water in Bangladesh limited by insufficient testing and awareness
A. Pfaff, A. Schoenfeld Walker, K. M. Ahmed, A. van Geen; Reduction in exposure to arsenic from drinking well-water in Bangladesh limited by insufficient testing and awareness. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development 1 June 2017; 7 (2): 331–339. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/washdev.2017.136
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