Swiss researchers have mapped the levels of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater all over the world hoping to provide a starting point for planning future drinking water projects and to avoid drinking water contamination in developing countries.
The team of researchers led by Annette Johnson from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, combined skills and knowledge in geochemistry with statistics to create the maps. They used existing measurements of arsenic and fluoride contamination along with data on ground conditions and climate to develop a model to estimate the concentrations of both elements.
Arsenic poisoning causes skin lesions and is linked to cancers and is a major concern especially in countries in South Asia where thousands of wells have been sunk in areas with high arsenic concentrations.
Fluoride which prevents tooth decay at low levels is added to the water supply in developed countries but high concentrations from contaminated wells cause malformed bones and neurological disease.
This has resulted in people being poisoned by their trusted supply of water itself. The project aims to identify and highlight high risk areas for planned utilisation of resources and to initiate mitigatory action in affected areas.
Read more at the RSC website: Global Fluoride & Arsenic Contamination Map