Archived Publication Announcements

January 9 2013

USGS Report on Arsenic in NH Groundwater from Bedrock Aquifers


Estimated Probability of Arsenic in Groundwater from Bedrock Aquifers in New Hampshire, 2011

By Joseph D. Ayotte, Matthew Cahillane, Laura Hayes, and Keith W. Robinson


Probabilities of arsenic occurrence in groundwater from bedrock aquifers at concentrations of 1, 5, and 10 micrograms per liter (µg/L) were estimated during 2011 using multivariate logistic regression. These estimates were developed for use by the New Hampshire Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. About 39 percent of New Hampshire bedrock groundwater was identified as having at least a 50 percent chance of containing an arsenic concentration greater than or equal to 1 µg/L. This compares to about 7 percent of New Hampshire bedrock groundwater having at least a 50 percent chance of containing an arsenic concentration equaling or exceeding 5 µg/L and about 5 percent of the State having at least a 50 percent chance for its bedrock groundwater to contain concentrations at or above 10 µg/L. The southeastern counties of Merrimack, Strafford, Hillsborough, and Rockingham have the greatest potential for having arsenic concentrations above 5 and 10 µg/L in bedrock groundwater.

Significant predictors of arsenic in groundwater from bedrock aquifers for all three thresholds analyzed included geologic, geochemical, land use, hydrologic, topographic, and demographic factors. Among the three thresholds evaluated, there were some differences in explanatory variables, but many variables were the same. More than 250 individual predictor variables were assembled for this study and tested as potential predictor variables for the models. More than 1,700 individual measurements of arsenic concentration from a combination of public and private water-supply wells served as the dependent (or predicted) variable in the models.

The statewide maps generated by the probability models are not designed to predict arsenic concentration in any single well, but they are expected to provide useful information in areas of the State that currently contain little to no data on arsenic concentration. They also may aid in resource decision making, in determining potential risk for private wells, and in ecological-level analysis of disease outcomes. The approach for modeling arsenic in groundwater could also be applied to other environmental contaminants that have potential implications for human health, such as uranium, radon, fluoride, manganese, volatile organic compounds, nitrate, and bacteria.

Suggested citation:

Ayotte, J.D., Cahillane, Matthew, Hayes, Laura, and Robinson, K.W., 2012, Estimated probability of arsenic in groundwater from bedrock aquifers in New Hampshire, 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5156, 25 p., available only at

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November 1 2012

Study suggests large investment in Bangladesh water supply infrastructure would be justified

Two of Columbia's SRP Community Engagement Core scientists Sara Flanagan and Yan Zheng along with their colleague Richard Johnston published a paper in the November 2012 WHO Bulletin examining the health and economic impacts and implications for the mitigation of arsenic in tube well water in Bangladesh. A recent survey in Bangladesh estimates that 35 to 77 million people have been chronically exposed to arsenic in their drinking water. The health implications of chronic arsenic exposure in such a large population are substantial. Interventions in areas with the highest proportion of unsafe wells are likely to reach the population exposed to the highest arsenic concentrations and therefore at highest risk of experiencing adverse health outcomes. This paper provides evidence that large investments in the water supply infrastructure to reduce levels of arsenic in drinking water is economically justified when the health and economic burdens of unabated arsenic exposure are considered.


Flanagan, S.V., R.B. Johnston,and Y. Zheng. 2012. Arsenic in tube well water in Bangladesh: health and economic impacts and implications for arsenic mitigation.Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2012;90:839-846. doi: 10.2471/BLT.11.101253

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August 17 2012

Water conservation case study and policy report

A new Rockland County water conservation case study and policy report was released August 17 by the Center for Regional Research, Education and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz. This discussion brief updates earlier work by the authors, Stuart Braman of Lamont-Doherty and Simon Gruber of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, and places it in the context of the Hudson River valley.


Braman, S., and S. Gruber, 2012. Water Conservation and Long-Term Water Supply Planning in the Hudson Valley: A Rockland County Case Study. Discussion Brief #7- Summer 2012. Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach, State University of New York at New Paltz.
PDF icon Full Case Study5.04 MB

February 23 2012

Variants Associated with Arsenic Metabolism and Toxicity Phenotypes in Bangladesh

A research team led by CU SRP PI Habibul Ahsan and Brandon Pierce, University of Chicago Medicine, with contributions by SRP scientists Marie Argos, Joseph Graziano, Mary Gamble, Faruque Parvez, and Vesna Slavkovich has discovered genetic variants that elevate the risk for skin lesions in people chronically exposed to arsenic, as part of the first large-scale genomic studies in a developing country. Genetic changes found near the enzyme for metabolizing the chemical into a less toxic form can significantly increase an individual's risk for developing arsenic-related disease (summary link below).


Pierce BL, Kibriya MG, Tong L, Jasmine F, Argos M, et al. (2012) Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Chromosome 10q24.32 Variants Associated with Arsenic Metabolism and Toxicity Phenotypes in Bangladesh. PLoS Genet 8(2): e1002522. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002522
PDF icon Press Release28.86 KB
PDF icon Full paper557.77 KB

October 1 2011

Manganese Exposure from Drinking Water and Children’s Classroom Behavior in Bangladesh

As part of the SRP child development project in Araihazar, Bangladesh, this cross-sectional study investigates the associations of manganese and arsenic in tube well water with classroom behavior among more than 200 elementary school children, 8–11 years of age.  The study examines specificity in the exposure/behavior problems by assessing both exter­nalizing and internalizing behavior. Its findings reinforce the growing concern regarding neurotoxicologic effects for children exposed to high manganese levels in drinking water.


Khalid Khan, Pam Factor-Litvak, Gail A. Wasserman, Xinhua Liu, Ershad Ahmed, Faruque Parvez, Vesna Slavkovich, Diane Levy, Jacob Mey, Alexander van Geen, and Joseph H. Graziano. Manganese Exposure from Drinking Water and Children’s Classroom Behavior in Bangladesh. Enviromental Health Perspectives. Oct 2011; 119(10):1501-1506.


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