Ganga-Meghna Brahmaputra || West Bengal || Bangladesh || Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar || Uttarpradesh
Jharkhand || Assam || Rajnandgaon, Chattisgar || 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 IN FOOD CHAIN

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

Meal (adult)

Type of Food

Morning / Breakfast

Pantavat with vegetables (rice 250 gm and cooked vegetables 100 gm)

Lunch

Rice (250 gm) and vegetables (200 gm)

At night

Rice (250 gm) and vegetables (200 gm), villagers occasionally eat fish, eggs and rarely meat.

Table 2:- Arsenic burden to each adult male, adult female and children from consumption water alone in Kolsur village

 

Volume of drinking water per day (L)

Arsenic concentration in drinking (average) water (μg/L)

Intake of total arsenic from drinking water per day (μg)

Adult male

4

200

800

Adult female

3

200

600

Children

2

200

400

Table 3:- Daily arsenic burden to each adult male, adult female and children from consumption of contaminated rice and vegetables

 

Rice Vegetable Total intake of arsenic from rice and vegetables per day (μg)

Weight consumed per day (dry) (gm)

Arsenic concentration (μg/g)

Total arsenic (μg)

Weight consumed per day (dry) (gm) Arsenic concentration (μg/g) Total arsenic (μg

Adult male

750

0.358

268

500

0.034

17.0

285.0

Adult female

750

0.358

268

500

0.034

17.0

285.0

Children

400

0.358

143

300

0.034

10.2

153.2

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

 

Arsenic levels in water added for Pantavat preparation (μg)

Arsenic level in water added for food preparation (μg)

Total arsenic levels in water added for Pantavat and food preparation (μg)

Adult male

100 (0.5L × 200 μg/L)

100 (0.5L × 200 μg/L)

200

Adult female

100 (0.5L × 200 μg/L)

100 (0.5L × 200 μg/L)

200

Child (around 10 years)

50 (0.25L × 200 μg/L)

50 (0.25L × 200 μg/L)

100

Table 5:- Total arsenic, inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic intake by villagers in Kolsur*

 

From water alone (μg)

From rice & vegetables (μg)

Water added for Pantavat and used in food preparation (μg)

Total arsenic intake per day (μg)

Total inorganic arsenic (μg)

Total organic arsenic (μg)

Adult male

800

285.0

200

1285.0

1270.9

14.1

Adult female

600

285.0

200

1085.0

1070.9

14.1

Children

400

153.2

100

653.2

645.6

7.6

* 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.

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