West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
ARSENIC BURDEN THROUGH FOOD ITEMS
Rice and vegetables are the staple food for poor villagers of West Bengal and Bangladesh. We conducted our study at Kolsur Gram Panchayet (GP) in the Deganga block of North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. Normally, the people eat rice with vegetables three times per day. Adults (male or female) normally eat 250gm of rice at each meal, i.e. 750 gm of rice per day, and children (around 10 years of age) eat 400 gm of rice per day. Adults eat about 165 gm of cooked vegetables at each meal and children around 100 gm. The average water intake per day for adult male, adult female and children is 4L, 3L and 2L respectively. Those who work in the field consume more water (average 6L) and during summer the average water intake for those working in the field is as high as 10L. Villagers also consume arsenic from Pantavat (This is common breakfast food for villagers of West Bengal and Bangladesh. Pantavat is rice mixed with water. Normally they pour water on rice cooked the previous noght and have it as their breakfast. Generally, villagers eat Pantavat with vegetables/ mashed potatos/ chili and onion.) and water added to food preparation like rice, soup, curry and drinks like tea. The average arsenic concentration in soil, rice and vegetables are 22.67 Total arsenic μg/g, 0.358 μg/g and 0.034 μg/g respectively. Villagers were also using the contaminated water from the hand tubewell for Pantavat (average As 200 ppb).
Table 1:- Normal daily average food intake for adults at each meal in rural West Bengal & Bangladesh
Table 2:- Arsenic burden to each adult male, adult female and children from consumption water alone in Kolsur village
Table 3:- Daily arsenic burden to each adult male, adult female and children from consumption of contaminated rice and vegetables
Table 4:- Daily arsenic burden to each adult male, adult female and child from consumption of contaminated water added for Pantavat and used in food preparation
Table 5:- Total arsenic, inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic intake by villagers in Kolsur*
* According to USFDA 95% and 5% of the compounds are inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic in rice, and 96% and 4% are inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic in vegetables.