Introduction to Arsenic

Arsenic in Water, Agriculture, and the Environment
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Arsenic and Agriculture

Arsenic originating form soil or irrigation water could result in:

  • increased uptake of arsenic by plants and increased arsenic in the food chain
  • arsenic-induced plant-physiologic disorders or phyto-toxicity
  • reduced crop yields
  • reduction in food quality
  • decreased market value of crops
  • loss of agricultural sustainability
  • detrimental impact on livestock health and food value
  • problems associated with the use of animal byproducts, e.g., the use of dried manure
    as a fuel for cooking

Arsenic and Land Sustainability

The long-term application of arsenic through irrigation water could result in the continual build-up of arsenic in the soil and the loss of land and agricultural sustainability.

Arsenic and the Economy

Arsenic might impact the economy by:

  • Loss of family productivity because of arsenic-induced illness
  • Economic loss through the impact of arsenic on food quality and subsequent impact on marketability of the crops
  • Partial economic loss through the decline in consumer confidence

In Bangladesh, consumer confidence is now becoming a major issue, as evident from labels on bottled water and signs in the vegetable market advising people of arsenic-free products. Crops originating in those regions where severe occurrence of arsenic toxicity have been reported may reduce their marketability. This impacts the economic sustainability of the farmers.