Rural Latin America—a forgotten part of the global groundwater arsenic problem?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico at least 4 million of persons depend on drinking water with toxic arsenic concentrations (>50 μg/L), which mostly originate from geogenic sources. In other Latin-American countries the occurrence of the problem and/or the number of exposed persons is yet unknown. This chronic arsenic exposure is associated with neurological and dermatological problems and carcinogenic effects. In contrast to urban areas, practically no action was performed by the authorities to mitigate the arsenic problem for the rural population, which often depends on arsenic-contaminated water as their only drinking water resource. This missing interest hampers the development of low-cost remediation methods for small communities or single houses. So various suitable techniques were developed on laboratory scale, but are only in few cases or even not yet proved and applied on field scale to mitigate the people’s arsenic problems. Examples are solar oxidation methods, phytoremediation, or the use natural materials as adsorbents for arsenic removal from drinking water. Hence not a technological problem needs to be solved, but the problem is to convince the responsible authorities to consider the arsenic occurrence as a natural health risk and therefore support the development and the application of remediation methods for rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGroundwater for Sustainable Development
Subtitle of host publicationProblems, Perspectives and Challenges
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780203894569
ISBN (Print)9780415407762
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008 Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK.


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