Ganga-Meghna Brahmaputra || West Bengal || Bangladesh || Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar || Uttarpradesh
Jharkhand || North-East Hilly States || Rajnandgaon, Chattisgarh || Behala, Kolkata, WB || As toxicity- Homeopathic Treatment
Effectiveness & Reliability - As Field Testing Kits || Utility Of Treatment Plant
Causes, Effects & Remedies - Groundwater As Calamity || References

Arsenic Poisoning in West Bengal : Field Testing Kits for Arsenic

FIELD TESTING KITS FOR ARSENIC: HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE MILLION-DOLLAR PROJECTS?

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UNICEF*-BRAC-Bangladesh (Reference - Arsenetor; Field Kit by NIPSOM)

Range # by Reference method # in-range by Field-Kit % Comparable
< 50 µg/l 46 39 85

University College, London (Reference - AAS; Field-Kit by Aqua Consortium)

Range # by Reference method # in-range by Field-Kit % Comparable
< 50 µg/l 17 11 65

* Data from action Research Report: UNICEF/DPHE/BRAC Arsenic testing or newly installed tubewells, Quality control on Field Kit Analyses March, 1999

Opinion on arsenic Field Kit efficiency between 50 and 200 µg/liter in field samples.

In the "Assessment of Arsenic Field Testing kits" by NEERI and WHO, it is reported that all six field samples from West Bengal and Bangladesh, which were measured as having arsenic concentration between 98 and 170 µg/l, were are found safe to drink when measured by Field Kits of AAN, E-Merck, AQUA, NIPSOM, AIIH&PH [Except one sample of AAN].
[Source: Assessment of Arsenic Field Testing Kits, Final Report, NEERI and WHO, June, 1998].

" The AQUA Field Kits used by DPHE along with other kits in use in Bangladesh were examined in two independent evaluations in India, sponsored by WHO (NEERI, 1998) and UNICEF (Shriram Research Institute, 1998). More limited evaluations have been carried out in Bangladesh by ICDDRB and UNICEF. All these evaluations reached similar conclusion finding that - none of the kits were able to reliably identify groundwater samples containing between 50 and 200 ppb arsenic."
[Source: Action Research Report: UNICEF/DPHE/BRAC Arsenic Testing of Newly Installed Tubewells, Quality Control on Field Kit Analyses, March,1999]

Eleven field samples tested by NIPSOM kit showed arsenic in the range of 50 and 200 µg/liter. The tubewells from which the samples came were painted red and the villagers were advised not drink their water. Subsequently, when measured by ARSENATOR, 6 were found safe for drinking (ie, 54% results not reliable when compared with arsenator). In other words, NIPSOM data over estimated.
[Source: Action Research Report: UNICEF/DPHE/BRAC Arsenic Testing of Newly Installed Tubewells, Quality Control on Field Kit Analyses, March, 1999, Appendix Data, Page-9, Annexure-3].

Further, when 9 field samples measured by ARSENATOR showed arsenic between 50 µg/l and 200 µg/l when tested by NIPSOM Field Kit, it was found that 2 samples show below 50 µg/l i.e. 88% NIPSOM data were reliable compared to those of ARSENATOR.
[Source: Action Research Report: UNICEF/DPHE/BRAC Arsenic Testing of Newly Installed Tubewells, Quality Control on Field Kit Analyses, March, 1999, Appendix Data, page 9, Annexure-3]

The UNICEF/DPHE report is really significant [Interim Report: UNICEF/DPHE Arsenic Testing Programme; An analysis of Field Kit data Bangladesh: February, 1999]. The report has observed that "None of the kits were able to reliably identify groundwater samples containing between 50 and 200 ppb”. But, surprisingly, page-9 of Appendix Data of the report [Action Research Report: UNICEF/DPHE/BRAC Arsenic Testing of Newly Installed Tubewells, Quality Control on Field Kit Analyses, March, 1999] shows 88% of NIPSOM Field-Kit results in the range of 50 and 200 ppb to be reliable.

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