West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
Reported work done by SOES
Arsenical skin lesions observed in the village of Semria Ojha Patty
In our very preliminary survey we examined 550 people out of total 5000, including children (n = 160) and out of them registered 60 individuals (10.9% of the total and 6.2% of children) with arsenical skin lesions. Photograph-2 shows one of the patient who has almost all types of arsenical skin lesions including hyper-keratosis, Bowens (suspected) and non-healing ulcer (suspected cancer). The skin lesions observed in the village were similar to those observed in West Bengal and Bangladesh. The villagers are very conservative and in most of the cases to examine women we went to individual house. Also young women were not willing to be examined. During our study we made a few camps in the village but the attendance was poor. Affected members of each family admitted that many of the families have skin lesions but not willing to come to the camp.
Arsenic metabolites in urine and total arsenic in hair, nail, urine
Table-1 shows Minimum, Maximum, Mean value of arsenic in urine, hair, nail. Most of the samples show elevated level of arsenic in physiological samples (see footnote of Table-1). Since about 50% of the samples are from those who have no skin lesions, it is expected a good percentage of population are sub-clinically affected.
Arsenic affected children
In Dhaskhin Tola area of Semria Ojha Patty village, we identified a group of 8 children who were drinking arsenic contaminated water from the same tubewell (the tubewell contained 749 µg/l of arsenic). All of the 8 children have visible arsenical skin lesions (Photograph-3). Arsenic in hair, nail and urine are quite elevated level. During our survey for last 15 years in West Bengal and 7 years in Bangladesh we have not encountered a children group where so much arsenic body burden in physiological samples as in Sameria Ojha Patty village.
Neurological involvement in patients of arsenocosis in Semria Ojha Patty village
Arsenic neuropathy was clinically diagnosed in 21 (52.5%) of the 40 cases examined by our neurologist.
Arsenic in drinking water and pregnancy out come in Sameria Ojha Patty village
The sample of 550 subjects included 16 adult females who were examined clinically and their pregnancy history was analyzed in detail. Although this is a preliminary study but subjects expose to high arsenic have apparent excess of miscarriages, still births, pre-term birth and low birth weight infants. Photograph-4 shows such three women.