Opinion: In Bangladesh, arsenic poisoning is a national tragedy. Here’s how to intervene.

Arsenic poisoning from groundwater in Bangladesh is a national tragedy, posing a massive threat to public health.
About two decades ago, the government of Bangladesh embarked on a large-scale effort to test shallow household wells for arsenic, a geologically occurring contaminant.
Research showed that up to five years later, as many as half of the households reached were drinking only from safe wells.
Costing about $40, filters could be made widely available through subsidies.
This will require several new policy measures that reflect a clear grasp of the arsenic crisis in Bangladesh.
Renewed testing will also provide a foundation for effective targeting of new remedial measures, since the severity of the problem varies greatly, even within a single village, depending on geological and other conditions.
Widen the net The spread of shallow tubewells from the 1980s onwards came in response to high levels of harmful pathogens and other contaminants in surface water.
As households cease to rely for drinking water on tubewells contaminated with arsenic, microbial contamination of alternative water sources will require increased attention.
Redoubled efforts to tackle arsenic thus represent an important opportunity to address multiple health threats through a more holistic approach to water contaminants.
Grease the supply chain Some of the new measures to reduce arsenic contamination have been tested on a pilot basis as part of research projects.

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