Arsenic pollution: a global synthesis by Peter Ravenscroft

By Peter Ravenscroft

Arsenic pollutants summarizes the most up-tp-date learn at the distribution and reasons of arsenic toxins, its impression on healthiness and agriculture, and recommendations in terms of water offer, therapy, and water source administration.

  • Provides the 1st international and interdisciplinary account of arsenic pollutants occurrences
  • Integrates geochemistry, hydrology, agriculture, and water offer and therapy for the 1st time
  • Options are highlighted for constructing replacement water resources and techniques for arsenic trying out and removing
  • Appeals to experts in a single self-discipline looking an outline of the paintings being performed in different disciplines

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Extra resources for Arsenic pollution: a global synthesis

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This chapter explains the processes that control arsenic pollution, specifically what causes arsenic in minerals to be released into groundwater (mobilisation) or in reverse, to be removed from water (immobilisation). There are four mechanisms of practical importance that cause arsenic pollution of natural waters. Two occur where arsenic is adsorbed onto metal oxides or clays: under alkaline conditions, arsenic may be directly desorbed, which we refer to as alkali desorption (AD); alternatively, under reducing conditions, the minerals to which arsenic is adsorbed break down and dissolve causing arsenic to be released into solution, which is known as reductive dissolution (RD).

Almost overnight, the plight of millions of people in West Bengal was brought to the attention of the world’s scientists, aid agencies and international media. The message was carried to Bangladesh, where geologists knew that the contamination must extend across the border, although none anticipated it would cover more than half of the country. Unlike its gradual revelation in West Bengal, Bangladesh progressed from discovery to comprehensive national mapping in two and a half years, and doctors soon began to recognise the symptoms of arsenic poisoning.

In mining, pollution may occur from improper disposal of wastes from sulphide-rich ores (Abrahams and Thornton, 1987; Williams, 2001). Exposed to air and rainwater, sulphides are oxidised to produce sulphate-rich, acid mine drainage (AMD) that often contains high arsenic concentrations. Arsenic-rich spoil heaps, such as from the Cornish tin-mines, have left a legacy of contaminated soil that prevents their use for food crops more than a 100 years after the mines were abandoned. Arsenic pollutes the air through the smelting of sulphide ores.

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