ARSENIC IN IBEROAMERICA / IBEROARSEN NETWORK
1 Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (ARGENTINA)
2 Centro Panamericano de Ingeniería Sanitaria y Ciencias del Ambiente (PERU)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:An important percentage of the rural population in Latin America cannot access to safe water and is specially affected to water diseases. Arsenic (As) is presented among the chemical contaminants in the human water sources, both groundwater and superficial water as well. The appearance of arsenic is important due to the problems caused by chronic toxicity, which appears after its consumption during long periods. The harmful effects may appear after some years of consuming polluted water, and the main visible effect is the endemic regional chronic hydroarsenicism (ERCH), disease that becomes apparent as melanoderma, leucoderma and/or hyperkeratosis of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, ending in different types of cancer.
Contamination through As is generally claimed to human activity (mining industry, pesticide, wood preservers). However, the main causes are natural, due to the mineral dissolving in surface water or groundwater. Arsenic (As), which is toxic for human being, is contained in natural water, such as arsenites As(III), or as arsenates As(V). In view of its damage in human health, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 0.01 mg/L as permissible maximum limits in drinking water. This value has been legally adopted in most Ibero-american countries.
Therefore, 46 groups of I+D from 17 Ibero-american countries involved in this issue, have contacted through the CYTED Program to IBEROARSEN Network, whose objective is to improve the knowledge of this issue that enables an appropriate technique to minimize the risk of 13 million people in Iberoamerica. It is also the Network objective to promote the exchange of knowledge and information, human resources recruitment and implementation of researches for the scientific development and innovation, being the community communication and participation of great importance. The main outcome is the IBEROARSEN Network, since once established, the considerable interest in the subject assures its continuity, mainly the international technical and scientific assistance to the governments, institutions and communities. The immediate products of the Network are a data base, a map containing the distribution of As in Iberoamerica, a Web page, three monographies associated to the activities developed, human resources recruitment, educational and informative material, as well as joint research papers among the Ibero-american countries. The activities are present in three specific areas: (a) origin, transportation and distribution of arsenic in water and soil from the Iberian Peninsula and Iberoamerica; (b) analytical methodologies to determine and arsenic especiation in water and soil; (c) economic technologies to destroy arsenic in water.
The Network participants are: CYTED and 17 Ibero-american countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela.