West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
FIELD TESTING KITS FOR ARSENIC: HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE MILLION-DOLLAR PROJECTS?
UNICEF*-BRAC-Bangladesh (Reference - Arsenetor; Field Kit by NIPSOM)
University College, London (Reference - AAS; Field-Kit by Aqua Consortium)
* 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
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
" 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."
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
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.
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.
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.