In West Bengal region of India, an environmental health crisis of worrying proportions has been taking place for a long time; eight of 19 districts in the state have reported high arsenic concentrations. While the World Health Organization’s (WHO) established limit of arsenic concentration in water is 0.01 mg/L, India’s maximum permissible limit is 0.05 mg/L. In West Bengal, a population of approximately 30 million resides in arsenic
13,000 square miles. In 2006, the number of people using arsenic- contaminated water was estimated at 1.3 million and hundreds of thousands among them have since been diagnosed with chronic arsenic poisoning; millions more are estimated to be at risk. Extreme poverty compounds the problem since it prevents people from seeking adequate medical attention before irreversible damage is done.