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2016 Conference

Abstract Number: ETH-02 | ID: 4816

Arsenic exposure and environmental justice

Juan Ramos-Bonilla*, University of los Andes, Colombia, jramos@uniandes.edu.co;
Arsenic exposure occurs mostly through consumption of contaminated groundwater. High concentrations of arsenic in drinking water have been identified in several countries of the world, and there could also be important differences in arsenic concentrations between regions within the same country. Arsenic exposure causes cancer of the skin, bladder, and lungs. Long-term arsenic exposure has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, developmental effects, and neurotoxicity.
Previous studies have suggested that arsenic exposure could also have important environmental justice implications, including for example, disparities in exposure, adverse health effects, and lack of adequate interventions. Furthermore, regions of the world where this problem is present may have yet to be identified because of the lack of surveillance, research, or technical capacities at the country or regional level.
Have you observed the above-mentioned disparities in relation to arsenic exposure in your country? Are there other examples of environmental justice disparities on this topic? Are there still populations in the world exposed to high arsenic concentrations that are not aware of the risks they face? How could we reach an appropriate balance between access to safe drinking water and limited water sources in a region, especially among disadvantaged communities and/or low-income countries? What could be the role of scientists in addressing this problem from a holistic perspective?
The ethical dimensions resulting from this topic will be discussed during this presentation.