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Health Effects

It’s estimated that at least 5.5% of the annual deaths in the country now are related to arsenic poisoning. For heavily impacted areas, the rate can  be much higher.


At least 43,000 die per year from arsenic poisoning, although even more deaths may go uncounted because of difficulty knowing if caused by arsenic. 

Once in the body in sufficient amounts, arsenic can wreak havoc with one's health.  It can cause cancer in numerous areas of the body.  It can cause serious issues in the endocrine system, such as diabetes.  It causes serious heart and lung problems.  It can cause serious developmental delays in babies and growing children.  It also can cause serious cognitive impairment, much like lead.   And there are many other serious problems it can cause.


Osman Ghani, 60 and his wife Rehana Begum, 50, both suffer from arsenic-related health conditions. They live in Balia village, in the Barisal District, south of Dhaka.  A human Rights Watch investigation found many villagers have little or no access to health care for such conditions. Photo: @2016 Atish Saha for Human Rights Watch.  Use provided by Creative Commons

The figure  below shows how arsenic cycles through water and food to humans, and the many serious maladies it causes. 

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