Project 6 - Defining the Sustainable Uses of Low-As Aquifers in Bangladesh

Alexander van Geen PhD, Principal Investigator (PI)
Lowering As exposure for HEALS participants and understanding processes affecting water quality in low As aquifers

The first goal of this project is to continue to lower the exposure to arsenic (As) of a cohort of over 30,000 men and women recruited under the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS). This will be achieved by testing the numerous household wells that continue to be installed within the study area of Araihazar, using both laboratory measurements and field kits with support from Core C. In addition, the 110 deep community wells installed by Columbia in some of the most affected portions of the study area will continue to be monitored. Beyond the ethical motivation, lowering exposure will help define exposure estimates of the study population and, therefore, the dose-response relationships for various end-points studied under Projects 1, 2, and 3.

The second goal of the project is to improve our understanding of the processes that threaten the quality of groundwater in aquifers that are presently low in As in Bangladesh by conducting field investigations. To determine the vulnerability of deeper (>100 m) low-As aquifers, the origin of the failure of a handful of community wells in Araihazar will be investigated using a combination of geophysical, hydrological, and biogeochemical approaches supported under Project 4 and Cores C and D. The potential for downward incursion of shallow high-As groundwater on a broader scale due to intensive deep pumping below the city of Dhaka will be evaluated and modeled. These investigations will be carried out in the country where the health impact of As release to groundwater is by far the largest worldwide.

Project/Core Lead

Alexander van Geen PhD, Principal Investigator (PI)

Project/Core Scientists

Co-Investigator (Co-I)

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