Geostatistical model of the spatial distribution of arsenic in groundwaters in Gujarat State, India

Bladder Cancer

Wu R, et al. Environ Geochem Health 2020.


Geogenic arsenic contamination in groundwaters poses a severe health risk to hundreds of millions of people globally. Notwithstanding the particular risks to exposed populations in the Indian sub-continent, at the time of writing, there was a paucity of geostatistically based models of the spatial distribution of groundwater hazard in India. In this study, we used logistic regression models of secondary groundwater arsenic data with research-informed secondary soil, climate and topographic

variables as principal predictors generate hazard and risk maps of groundwater arsenic at a resolution of 1 km across Gujarat State. By combining models based on different arsenic concentrations, we have generated a pseudo-contour map of groundwater arsenic concentrations, which indicates greater arsenic hazard (> 10 μg/L) in the northwest, northeast and south-east parts of Kachchh District as well as northwest and southwest Banas Kantha District. The total number of people living in areas in Gujarat with groundwater arsenic concentration exceeding 10 μg/L is estimated to be around 122,000, of which we estimate approximately 49,000 people consume groundwater exceeding 10 µg/L. Using simple previously published dose-response relationships, this is estimated to have given rise to 700 (prevalence) cases of skin cancer and around 10 cases of premature avoidable mortality/annum from internal (lung, liver, bladder) cancers-that latter value is on the order of just 0.001% of internal cancers in Gujarat, reflecting the relative low groundwater arsenic hazard in Gujarat State.