Sammy Sambu and Richard Wilson
Last modified June 3rd 2008

Chronic Arsenic Poisoning:
History, Study and Remediation

Site History
Harvard/MIT Faculty
Searchable Address List
Online Articles
Chronic Health Effects
Pictures of Sufferers
Prof Wilson's Page

Select the  country of interest:
(number of people drinking water with arsenic levels >50 micrograms per litre)

 1. Argentina  description  reference
 2. Australia  description reference 
 3. Austria  description  reference
 4. Bangladesh (30,000,000) description reference
 5. Canada  description reference 
 6. Chile  description reference
 7. China  description  reference
 8. Germany  description  reference
 9. India  description reference
10. Inner Mongolia (300,000) description reference
11. Jamaica  description reference
12. Japan description reference
13. Mexico  description reference
14. NewZealand  description reference
15. Sweden  description  reference
16. Taiwan  description  reference
17. Thailand (2,000) description  reference
18. USA (~300) description reference
19. Vietnam
20. Yugoslavia description reference


The webmaster's 2004 visit
The 2003 National Arsenic Policy (directory)  (File)

Report of  Surface & ground Water
1- Quaternary Geology and Aquifer Systems in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta Complex, Bangladesh
2- Report of  the Committee on Surface Water Development and Management for Drinking Water Supply in
the Arsenic affected areas of Bangladesh, July 2003

3- International Workshop on Arsenic Issue in Bangladesh , 14-16th January 2002.

4-  Ground Water Task Force, July, 2002

Maps of the distribution of arsenic

Arsenic Poisoning in Drinking Water: Challenges and Solutions Report of a North America Bangladesh Conference

The Dhaka Declarations 

    At five conferences from 1998 to 2003 and at a nineth conference in 2011 particpants have become increasingly concerned about the slow pace of progress in solving the arsenic problem.  This is shown by the declarations of the particpants at each of the conferences.  

  Summary of Bangladesh problems

    The worst arsenic problem in the world is clearly in BANGLADESH.    Mott Macdonald Ltd., working on behalf of DPHE and the  UK Geological Survey (BGS) in summer 1998 collected  all available data and  surveyed another "representative sample" (although not formally  a random sample) of 1,800 wells.   By being representative they  avoided the criticism of biassing the numbers high by only measuring in  areas with known contamination.   Nonetheless they estimate that  18% of all wells have levels of arsenic  above 50 ppb.    The fraction of wells with levels above 50 ppb for the various regions  are shown in a  map  and water quality  data can be downloaded from that report.  In  May 2000 the BGS website was updated with a phase 2 report.  Thus between 20 million and 60 million people have been   exposed to arsenic above the EPA regulatory limit.  

    In 1998, Dhaka Community Hospital, in conjunction with the Bangladesh Arsenic Victims Rehabilitation Trust (UPOSHON) completed a 500 village (out of a total of 60,000) Rapid Assessement Report (published in 2000).  This was initiated by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare of the government of Bangladesh with funding assistance from UNDP.    In April 2000, the Dhaka Community Hospital (DCH) and Jadvapur University (Calcutta, India) produced a report on 239 days field work over 5 years.    A draft report of a 2003 survey of tubewell arsenic screening data (archived in NAMIC) from 36 Upzillas is Phase II of a BAMWSP project.  In a report to a seminar on global emergencies, of which this surely is one, Professor Barkat of the University of Dhaka describes the socioeconomic impact.
It seems to be the official Bangladesh National Water Policy to return to the use of surface waters whenever possible, in spite of the fact that many communities have excellent water supplies from ground water (deep wells).   In the directory there is included the Report of  the Committee on Surface Water Development and Management for Drinking Water Supply in the Arsenic affected areas of Bangladesh, July 2003      

   Tragedy in some form or another has always plagued the land of Bangladesh.  It is located at the delta of two major rivers - the Ganges and Brahmaputra - and frequently floods during and after the monsoons.  The Ganges in particularisa polluted river and is a breeding ground for cholera.  The population has grown from 35 million to 120 million in 25 years and the air pollution in the capital city, Dhaka, is massive.  But the arsenic in the water introduces a psychological element which is different. The very actions proposed by the world community to avoid cholera brought disfigurement to many of the Bangladeshi peopleand a slow death from the cancers that arsenic causes.  Nowhere else in the world  is the contamination from arsenic as severe or as widespread.   Nowhere is there a group of people more vulnerable and less prepared to deal  with such a massive environmental health catastrophe.   

   Bangladesh is a small country with a land mass of about 52,000 square miles. It is therefore approximately the size of Wisconsin. The climateand the soil are such that in many places it is possible to grow  3 to 4 crops a year.   There is natural gas available.  But, it has a population of approximately 120 million inhabitants (compared to theUnited States population of approximately 260 million). Thus, Bangladesh has the official designation of being the most densely populated country  in the world, with 2,308 people per square mile. It is also one of the poorest  countries in the world, with a per capita Gross National Product (GNP) of  only 230 United States Dollars ($230). The country is also a deltaic plain  criss-crossed by mighty rivers such as the Ganges, Brahmaptra, Megna and  the Teesta. There are 230 rivers with a total length of 24,140 km.

    Yet Bangladesh has always had a problem with getting clean water to its people. It has three types of water resources: surface water, rain water and ground water. At first glance, the surface water is the most obvious resource (due to the great number of rivers), but on closer inspection, there are problems with it. The river Ganges is polluted for 1,000 miles upstream and cannot be used without purification because of the extreme contamination.  During the Monsoon season, waters from the melting snows from the Himalayas, and rain _water from other regions of the Indian sub-continent accumulate in the low-lying areas of Bangladesh before eventually passing into the Bay of Bengal. Flooding therefore becomes a yearly occurrence. Details of the September 2000 and  October 2000 floods, which were the worst in 100 years, are available here .  Cyclones also take their death toll. 500,000 people died in 1970 and 200,000 in 1991.   

    The arsenic problem cannot, in the long term, be separated from these overall water problems of the country.   Nor can it be separated from the relationship with the neighboring country India, which in West Bengal has many of the same problems.  In order to bring better water and a better standard of living to its increasing population, India has built dams, barrages and hydroelectic systems on the Ganges and plans to build more both on the Ganges, the Bramaputra and its tributories.   Some people have blamed the arsenic catastrophe on the consequent reduction in river flow in Bangladesh.  But this makes little sense, because the relavant aquifer is recharged by rainfall - not by the rivers.    Nonetheless,  the failure of Bangladesh to come to agreement with India on a common water policy that can satisfy the needs of both countries, has led to India, with the help of World Bank loans, going its own way.   

    In the remaining part of the year (the dry season), water scarcity results.  The rainwater from the Monsoon rains is not effectively harnessed, as the country lacks the  technology to functionally collect and store rainwater for future use. The alternative, suggested by   many friends throughout the world, was to use groundwater.  There are many  fresh water aquifers in Bangladesh. About fifteen years ago, with the assistance  of many international organizations such as the World Bank,  many shallow tubewells were dug which were to meet the daily  water requirements of the local people. According to the latest report, thereare now over eleven million wells in the country from which people draw their daily waters. But this solution turned out to be no solution for 30% of the population as the well water  came with a hidden poison: arsenic

    A careful examination of the political problems in implementing any scientific policy can be seen in the senior thesis entitled "Crisis of Capacity" by Pripya Patel, Harvard University. Another Harvard student, Christopher Shim, also wrote a report.      See also Dr. Chakraborti's 2001 report on Bangladesh , which we have also captured in a local file . A recent draft summary of the Bangladesh situation has been circulated for comment by WATERAID.  The best review of the situation in Bangladesh is in the paper by Feroze Ahmed, presented to the International Workshop on Arsenic on January 14-16 2002 in Dhaka.   A more recent (2002) report  by the NGO forum copied  here in pdf form and in html.   Sylvia Mortoza of the DISASTER FORUM  produces regular "Fact sheets" about the arsenic  problems in Bangladesh.   The latest sheet was in  December 2003, and the  rest of the Fact Sheets are listed here, and an article. .Professor Zuberi is also sending regular letters about his visits to the Bangladesh villages.

The tragedy is well described in a recent detailed (2004) report on the village of Eruaine.

Scope of the Problems
    Prior to the 1970s, the people of Bangladesh (then only 35 million) relied on surface water for their daily requirements. The water was directly taken from ponds and shallow hand-pumped wells. But this water became increasingly polluted. The pollution stemmed from poor sewage systems in India and Bangladesh, newly established industrial plants frequently  dumped their  waste in the water. This ultimately made its way into the low-lying plains of Bangladesh. This contamination led to various health problems such as cholera and the extensive pollution of the environment. Western aid agencies, primarily the World Bank and the United Nations International Children's and Educational Fund (UNICEF) suggested the "solution" to the immediate problem of infection and industrial contamination. They advocated tapping the groundwater as a resource. This seemed to be a simple, cheap and effective, solution to the problem. Groundwater could be easily tapped by constructing a simple steel hand pump. Soon after, millions of dollars were spent on digging shallow tubewells by western engineers and aid agencies. But no one told the government or the villagers to test for arsenic. The villagers dug more wells.  Now there are over  11,000,000 wells. In the early 1990s, it was discovered that the well water,which had seemingly provided a solution tothe country's water problems, camewith ahidden poison.  The well water was laced with naturally occurring arsenic. No one had thought to check for arsenic contamination of well water when the wells were being dug.

    The arsenic in Bangladesh is the greatest case of mass poisoning the world has ever experienced.   In the sheer magnitude and numbers ofvictims it exceeds the Chernobyl disaster nearly 100 fold.  In  Bangladesh 97% of the population, or 116 million people ingest wellwaters. An early map in 1998 by Dainichi Consultant Inc. in early 1998 shows high levels of arsenic primarily in the western part of the country.  The figures are the maximum average concentrations ofmeasurements in the particular region of the countrytaken from measurements from a variety of sources varying from a "field  kit" (manufactured by Merck) to Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) (see page on measurements). The "Rapid Action Program" of 1999 (report of April  2000 noted above) measured both concentrations in the wells and diagnosed  chronic  arsenic  poisoning.  As shown on the map below, most regions in  the countryhad villages which hadwells above the country standardof 50 ppb.  By a rough extrapolation they estimatethat half of all wells in the country  exceed this limit. These measurements were made with a Merck field kit, which cannot measure arsenic levels below 50 ppb so that it is not known how many people are drinking water with levels of arsenic above the WHO recommendation of 10 ppb. A UNDP survey indicated that 40% of all wells are contaminated . Mott Macdonald Ltd., working on behalf of DPHE and the UKGeological Survey (BGS) . in summer 1998 collected  all available data and  surveyed another "representative sample" (although not formally a random sample) of 1,800 wells.   By being representative they  avoided the criticism of biassing the numbers high by only measuring in  areas with known contamination.   Nonetheless they estimate that  18% of all wells have levels of arsenic above 50 ppb.  In May 2000 the BGS website was updated with a phase 2 report. Water quality  data can be downloaded here. The fraction of wells with levels above 50 ppb for the various regions are shown in a  map  from that report. Thus between 20 million and 60 million people have been   exposed to arsenic above the EPA regulatory limit.

    A much more complete survey of the wells in the country  BACAMP  and  a copy can be accessed here.

    A systematic  framework  for estimating the health effects from the measured concentrations, using GIS and other tools has been made by Professor Charles Harveyof MIT and his student Dr. Winston Yu of Harvard.   The paper answers a fundamental question: What is the distribution of health effects due to the arsenic problem currently and in the future?  The abstract of another PhD thesis (presented at Sydney Australia) has been provided by Dr  M. Shamsudduha who studied the spatial variation using multivariate analysis (See also the paper by Feroze Ahmed .)

What to do about the problem

    Progress in resolving these questions is very slow. The 4th Dhaka declaration  (from the January 2002 conference organized by the Dhaka Community Hospital) emphasizes this. I have said at the 1998 Dhaka conference that there are 3 types of action that  should be taken simultaneously.
(1)  Enabling the people to have arsenic and bacteria free water
(2)  Treating and finaciallyaiding the sufferers
(3)  Undertstanding the hydrogeology and the health effects to enhance future knowledge so that this and similar catastrophes will never again happen anywhere in the world.

    As we look at these it becomes clear that the rest of the world has an enormous interest in helping Bangladesh that is not completely recognized.   The whole world made mistakes in thinking that arsenic is not a big medical problem.

(1)  The World Bank and UNICEF are morally (even if not legally) responsible because they installed tube wells without checking for arsenic, and the British Geological Survey (BGS) was similarly delinquent.  However,  a lawsuit instituted in UK against BGS during 2003 was dismissed by the court of appeals in 2004 and this was upheld in 2006 by the House of Lords. 

(2)  Humanitarian considerations suggest that we should help the sufferers (patients).

(3)  It is the whole world,  not just Bangladesh, that will learn from the experience of coping withthe health effects and the hydrogeological understanding that will be achieved.  The whole world should pay for it. Alas, this is not really understood.

       Some investigators have gone to a village, made studies on the many volunteers, and done nothing directly to help.  If the investigators return for a follow up they should expect to be thrown out by the villagers.  Each and every epidemiological or hydrogeological study in a village must be accompanied, at least, with help for the villagers by providing them with access to pure water.   This webmaster is paying attention to (2) for all of these reasons and although there are several options available in specific circumstances is, in particular,   urging that people help by building new, sanitary, arsenic free wells - preferably with water piped to the individual houses.   (see the remediation page)

    In 2000 the Bangladesh government made some recommendations.  These have not been widely addressed.      You are invited to comment upon the recommendations that the participants made to the Bangladesh government .  Comments will be forwarded to the government and to WHO.

Detailed Solutions in the Past and in the Present.

    Although in principle (technically) the arsenic problem in Bangladesh and West Bengal is simple to solve, the number of people affected and  the poverty of the country makes it a problem so massive that it tends to  overwhelm those who attempt to do anything about it. Many international and domestic organizations are attempting to organize a combined and concerted effort to address this problem. The difficulties are laid out _in a position paper of late 1998 from  the Ministry of Health and  Family Welfare of Bangladesh.  But at the time of an International Conference on Remediation measures at DCH in Dhaka in December 1998 some aspects became clear. Firstly it is vital to measure the arsenic concentration  in all 11 million  wells and to use for drinking and cooking only those that have low concentrations.  Even in 2003 only 10% of all wells have so far been measured. The  rate must speed up. Moreover the reliability of the measurements must improve.   Any wells that now seem to be free of arsenic and can be used in the future  must be regularly tested - at least once a year.

    The measurement  problem has not been fully addressed.  Ideally we  could all have confidence in any measurement in the same way that we have confidence in our weights and measures.  Even laboratory measurements have problems as an inter-laboratory comparison shows.  Filed kits may well be worse.   Although an  accurate portable device (the arsenator - link is dead and there is no new website) has been developed by Professor Walter Kosmos, this has a high capital cost and has proved more difficult to use in the field than hoped.

    A look at the maps of arsenic concentrations will show that the southern part of the country, and the town of Dhaka, are free of serious contamination. _This is because they obtain their water from deep wells - greater than 150, sometimes over 200 meters in depth.   Although this suggests that villagers should turn_to deep wells, this should only be done where the hydrogeology suggests that there is indeed an impermeableclay layer above the deep aquifer. Moreover a deep well, if improperly grouted, can mix the water in the acquifier with water in the shallower aquifers.This is discussed further on the remediation page. A more general solution is a return to the shallow, open, dug well which seems to be free of arsenic for reasons which are not entirely clear.   These wells must of course beinstalled ina sanitary manner - far from latrines for example - and the level of coliform bacteria must be monitored.

    A vital issue is whether or not appreciable arsenic enters through the food chain . Most of the water from the wells is used for agriculture and irrigation.  If these wells do not have to be tested or changed the whole remediation problem will be simpler and can be solved more rapidly.  But if arsenic-laden water is continually brought to the surface the concentrations of arsenic and the uptake by plants is likely to increase in the forthcoming years.  The simple calculation made by the webmaster 10 years ago may be overly optimistic.  From about 1950 - 1970 the USA put 40,000 tons of arsenic a year on the best cropland and forgot about it.  The amount of arsenic pulled out of the subsoil in Bangladesh is similar, so the effect should be similar - equivalent to 1 - 5 ppb of arsenic in the water.    This could be tested by either examining concentrations of arsenic in toenails or in the urine, and examining toenails  is now simpler.    Studies of toenail concentrations in the Pabna upazilla by the Harvard/DCH group, which are reported in the PhD thesis of Dr Molly Kile, suggest that  arsenic in foodstuffs is roughly equivalent to about 25 ppb in the water - 10 times what this webmaster had imagined.   A set of four measurements could also scope the problem.    Arsenic in the urine  measures the amount of arsenic absorbed in the previous 24 hours or so.   One could measure the arsenic in the urine ofeveryone in a village, and then ask the villagers to eat for the next week only food from an arsenic free village and measure the urine again a week later.  Similarly one could ask the villagers to drink and cook with bottled waterfor a week and see what reduction there is in the  arsenic levels in urine.  Then one might do the inverse;  ask villagers from an arsenic free village to eat (or drink) food (or water) from an arsenic-laden village.  The first of these tests seems to have been performed and it seemed that foodstuffs were not yet a major problem.  A study in progress by CSIRO of Australia on arsenic in foods should help in resolving these questions.  Julian Spallholz of the USA is also engaged in this work.

    This is vitally important because the present policy of the Government of Bangladesh is to ignore arsenic in foodstuffs.  Now that Bangladesh has become a major exporter of rice to SE Asia, it seems vital to address it before the world, and in particular the trading parners,  embargo the rice.

Helping the people of Bangladesh

    As noted above, world governments and concerned individuals MUST help Bangladesh. The US Government has taken some steps.  The CommunityHealth Development Society has outlined the goals and activitiesof their arsenic project and requested assistance .    The Dhaka Community Hospital depends upon donations to treat patients (most  of whom cannot pay the $900 per total treatment),  to rehabilitate patients after measures such as limb ampuation, and to proceed   with their program of installing and measuring, dugwells, pond sand filters and river sand filters.  For these reasons the webmaster has started the

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United States
*The United States has very few real problems with arsenic;  either of high exposure or of major costs of reducing it.  However we manufacture problems.    In April 2004 a more recent map was produced.

    The governing laws are The Safe Drinking Water Act  for water we drink, the Clean Water Act for water in rivers and other locations, the superfund law for arsenic in various waste sites.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the major agency trying to cope with the theselaws and their problems.  But although as noted in the main pages of this site, the fact that long term medium level arsenic exposure leads to chronic health problems was known in 1986, it was basically ignored by EPA till 2000.   On a pessimistic calculation using a linear dose response curve the Office of Health and HazardAssessment (OEHHA) of the California EPA calculated that a level for a one-in-a-million risk is 1.5 parts per trillion - 3000 times less than the proposed level.  But it would be impossible to set a regulatory limit this low since no water supply could meet it.  Moreover arsenic in take into people would be dominated by arsenic in foodstuffs .  After much travail, the  US Environmental Protection Agency in  January 2001 finally issued a regulation with a a new standard for drinking water of 10 ppb to take effect in 2006.  This was  confirmed on October 31st 2001 by the new EPA administrator, Christine Whitman.

    Once the wheels of the US Government turn, they are hard to stop and they grind very small.   One of the crucial actions is under the superfund law.   A very effective way of treating wood against rot and infestation has been pressure treating it with Copper chromium arsenate (CCA).  Some of this wood has been used in cheldrens' playgrounds, and there is little doubt that some arsenic will get into the soil.  While eating playground wood is a taste acquired by very few (if any) children, eating soil is more popular and dominates the hazard.  CCA treated wood is not now being used in new construction,and after December 2003, it will not be permissible (under the Superfund law) to burn it or dispose of it in an ordinary dumpster.  Unlike nuclear waste that decays or chlorinated hydrocarbons that break down, arsenic lasts for ever,  so that the disposal is an important issue.   Since risks of waste disposal are risks of exposure of a lot of people to small amounts, it becomes very important to discover whether or not the effects on health are linear with exposure at low doses or are non-linear. So far these webmastes see no reason why arsenic should not be treated as carefully as nuclear waste.  The regualtions should not be similar.  Inversely if arsenic is let "off the hook"  the regulations for nuclear waste should be correspondingly relaxed.

    Some of the travails of the US Environmental Protection Agency can be seen lower down this page.  California often goes its own way and has stricter regulations than the federal government.  The California Office of Environmental and Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) propose a 4 ppt (0.004 ppb) Public Health Goal for arsenic in drinking water.  While this level is unlikely to ever be achieved, it will be a constant reminder that arsenic at ordianary levels is a toxic substance.

Sources and Concentrations of Arsenic in the USA .

    While for many years it was believed that the only sources of arsenic contamination in the USA were arsenic in mine tailings, and the run off from agricultural land which had used arsenical pesticides,  it has now been realized that there is arsenic in many ground water aquifers some of which are now being tapped for drinking water supplies.  Indeed hydrogeologists argue that there is as much arsenic in soil surrounding the aquifers in Massachussets as in Bangladesh; it is merely not easily available in the water, and moreover few people drink water from wells. But there is still a lot of arsenic around as the attached map shows.   This therefore needs needs careful reexamination. It has been pointed out by the UK National Pure Water Association,Wakefield WF4 3ET in a PRESS RELEASE of July 5, 2000 that arsenic impurities come in as fluoride is added to the water. This needs to be examined.  In February 2001 the US Geological Survey held a workshop  in Denver which was primarily addressed to discussions of the concentrations in each state and how to ensure that the only wells that are drilled in the future are free of arsenic. The abstracts of this workshopare available on the USGS website . Below is a listing, state by state, of web references, in so far as the webmasters have been able to find them, to problems in the USA.

General Websites for the USA

State by State Web References for the USA
Alaska: Fairbanks area
California (Los Angeles): (general measurements)  Professor Janet Hering
                                           Allan Smith's Arsenic Methylation Study
(Arsenic Human Health Water Quality Criteria)
Michigan (SE): (general) (state) (detailed pictures)
Nevada: (Allan Smith's bladder cancer study in progress in Nevada)
New Mexico:
Levels up to 100 ppb are reported anecdotally in Alberquerque.
 Details are hereby solicited.
Tennessee: (TVA)
Utah: (Drinking Water Arsenic)
(Fact Sheet)

Washington DC area:
( Army Base near Spring Valley )

West Virginia:

Travails and confusion of the US EPA

    Before 1986, it was widely believed that arsenic was only a carcinogen under special circumstances.  By inhalation of high doses from smelters  or spraying of arsenic insecticides.  By ingestion,  it was believed to cause skin cancer but it was widely believed that this showed a clear threshold at about 150 ppb in water.  But this should have changed at once when the fact that long term medium level arsenic exposure, at about 500 ppb in water, leads to chronic health problems became known.   Although the papers by CJ Chen and collaborators from Taiwan were published in 1986,  it was basically ignored by EPA till 2000.  Their committees did not include Chen's work in the list of references. In 1991 Smith at Berkeley published his assessment of the Taiwan data and Lamm et al.  presented their analyses at an epidemiology meeting in Baltimore at which EPA represenatives were present.  Using the  pessimistic calculations using a linear dose response curve, presented by these authors, and somewhat later by  the Office of Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California EPA calculated that a level for a one-in-a-million risk that the EPA use for a lot of other water pollutants, is 4 parts per trillion - 3000 times less than the level to be enforced in 2006.  This was ignored by the EPA in spite of calls for an emergency standard of 20 ppb to convey a sense of urgency.  Why was this ignored for another 10 years?

    It would be impossible to set a regulatory limit as low as 1.5 parts per trillion since no water supply could meet it.  Moreover arsenic intake into people would be dominated by arsenic in foodstuffs.  It would be necessary to be incosistent or to change the regulations for these other carcinogens.  Moreover, since arsenic is a carciogen that lasts for ever in the environment it would be necessary to treat it as a hazardous waste.  It seems that the EPA shied away from the problem hoping against hope that it would go away or not come to public attention until the next administration.   But it did not go away.

    A report of the US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council in 1999 recommended a reduction in the allowable level in drinking water. At last, after14years,  the US Environmental Protection Agency  finally acted on June 22nd 2000, Federal Register (HTML version PDF version) and proposed to enforce a regulatory standard of between 3 ppb and 20 ppb for arsenic in drinking water.  The Science Advisory Board of the US Environmental Protection Agency discussed this proposal at their meeting in June 2000.  The EPA also held many stakeholders meetings including one on August 9th 2000.  Comments on the proposed standard were made, interalia, by Richard Wilson , Daniel Byrd and Steve Lamm and Allan Smith.    In January 2001, in the last week of the Clinton administration President Clinton approved a new standard of 10ppb to take effect in 2006.   As is not uncommon, the incoming administration of George W. Bush rolled back this decision for reconsideration.  To resolve the dilemma,
EPA Administrator Christine Whitman asked the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council for an immediate review of the science and set up an EPA Panel on cost-benefit analysis.

    The following comments were made:
(1) EPA press releases and commentary by Wall Street Journal
(2) Two papers in Regulation in Fall 2001 issue
    (a)  "EPA's Arsenic Rule: The Benefits of the Standard Do Not Justify the Costs"  by Hahn and Burnett
    (b)  The Proposed Arsenic Regulation - by Richard Wilson
(3) American Society of Civil Engineers
(4) Steven Milloy
(5) Richard Wilson
(6) EPA Panel Discussion draft of the report Arsenic Rule Benefits Analysis: An SAB Review
(7) Arsenic and Science Integrity 0521 - Testimony to the NRC - by KevinL. Bromberg, U.S. Small Business Administration
(8) Regarding Arsenic Panel Selection - 051601 - by Susan Walthall, Board of Environmental Studies and Technology

(9) A Science Advisory Board Review of Certain Elements of the Proposal
This was followed by the 2001 NAS/NRC report .  Finally the Adminstrator late on October 31st announced that her agency would continue to support a 10 ppb standard.  EPA fact sheet and press release .  Curiously, although there was a public comment period till October 31st for the NAS/NRC report she did not wait for the end of the public comment period although  it was obvious that there would be comments at the last moment.

In 2005 the Science Advisory Board of the EPA considered again the hitorically important Taiwan  study.   But they seem to have the opinion that all truth can be summarized in one analysis of this study.   This is absurd as emphasized by Richard Wilson .   But in 2007 the Science Advisory Board of the EPA made a more systematic study as noted here and confirmed that a linear dose response is a wise default.

    In December 2007, it was announced that the EPA was developing a Biologically Based Dose Response (BBDR) model, with the hope of being able to modify the present regulation by 2015.   This webmaster notes that in the announcement, Dr Connoly of EPA makes no mention of the necessity of reconcling whatevwer new model is used with the low dose linearity demanded by Taylor's theorem, as explained by Crump et al and Guess et al in 1975 and 1976, and stated at that time by EPA as the reason for the linear default.

    The only reports from Canada seem to be of mining and agricultural wastes.  The websites follow.   There are no Canada specific literature references in the reference list.
New Brunswick  

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