The aim of this IGRAC's special project is to review available information about groundwater contaminated with arsenic and to display the probable occurrence of arsenic on continental maps.
Arsenic has become increasingly important in environmental geochemistry because of its significance to human health. Long-term exposure to arsenic through drinking contamined water can result in a chronic arsenic poisoning. Known symptoms are: cancer of the skin, lungs, urinary blades, and kidney as well as other skin changes such as pigmentation and thickening (source WHO: Arsenic in Drinking Water). The concentrations vary markedly in the environment, partly in relation to geology and partly as a result of human activity (Plant et al, 2004). Natural sources are connected to various types of rocks and to geothermal activity. Industrial activities, especially mining can also contribute to an increased arsenic concentration in groundwater.