facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Arsenic in Bangladesh water said natural

March 4, 2013 at 9:30 PM   |   Comments

LIVERMORE, Calif., March 4 (UPI) -- High arsenic levels in groundwater in Bangladesh are not the result of human activities but instead are part of a natural process, researchers say.

U.S. scientists including researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say those natural processes predate any recent human activity such as intensive pumping of groundwater.

Bacterial respiration of organic carbon releases naturally occurring arsenic from sediment into groundwater, they report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For their study, the scientists developed a method to filter, extract and purify DNA from groundwater aquifers for radiocarbon analysis to determine the organic carbon sources fueling microbial reduction.

The radiocarbon signature of DNA is a direct measure of the carbon used during microbial respiration and growth, they said.

The carbon has flowed into the aquifer over hundreds to thousands of years, suggesting recent human activities, such as intensive groundwater pumping, have not yet significantly affected the release of arsenic into the groundwater, the researchers said.

Millions of people in Bangladesh and neighboring countries are continually exposed to arsenic-contaminated groundwater, which can cause skin lesions and increase the risk of certain cancers.

The study results may help explain the causes of arsenic contamination in the region help in the development of potential mitigation strategies, the researchers said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Next week's lunar eclipse may feature the color turquoise Next week's lunar eclipse may feature the color turquoise
2
Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus
3
"Man in the moon" likely caused by volcano, not astroid "Man in the moon" likely caused by volcano, not astroid
4
Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI-910, hybrid supercar that hits 199 mph and gets 57 mpg Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI-910, hybrid supercar that hits 199 mph and gets 57 mpg
5
Mirror turtle ants thrive by going undercover Mirror turtle ants thrive by going undercover
Trending News
x
Feedback