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The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
ISSN: 1606-0997
EISSN: 1606-0997
Vol. 24, No. 2, 2006, pp. 228-235
Bioline Code: hn06028
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2006, pp. 228-235

 en Prevalence of Arsenic-related Skin Lesions in 53 Widely-scattered Villages of Bangladesh: An Ecological Survey
Mcdonald, Corbett; Hoque, Rezaul; Huda, Nazmul & Cherry, Nicola


A survey was carried out to provide a representative assessment of prevalence and risk of arsenic-related skin lesions in relation to geographical distribution of arsenic in wells of rural Bangladesh as a necessary background for research into effects in pregnancy and cancer risks. A systematic random sample of 53 villages in four divisions of Bangladesh served by Gonoshasthaya Kendra was selected, and all women aged 18 years or more (n=16,740) were listed. Trained paramedics recorded the presence of skin thickening and nodules on the palms and soles, together with information on tubewell use. The prevalence was related to the mean concentration of arsenic for the district as indicated by data from the British Geological Survey and to the date the first well in the village was installed. Overall, the observed prevalence was 176 cases (1.3%) in 13,705 women examined, varying from 0% in 26 villages to 23% in one; lesions were observed more frequently on hands than on feet. The estimate doubled with concentrations of arsenic from 11 to ≤50 μg/L and increased more than 20 times at >50 μg/L. In the absence of further information, priority for control measures should be directed at areas where the average concentrations of arsenic are above 50 μg/L, especially in villages where skin lesions have been identified.

Skin lesions; Arsenic; Arsenic exposure; Prevalence; Bangladesh

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