Water consumption patterns in rural Bangladesh: are we underestimating total arsenic load?

Abul Hasnat Milton*, Habibur Rahman, Wayne Smith, Rupendra Shrestha, Keith Dear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Risk related to the ingestion of any water contaminants depends on many factors, including the daily per capita amount of consumed water relative to body weight. This study explored the water consumption pattern of a rural arsenic-affected population in Bangladesh. The study findings are likely to contribute to the risk estimation attributable to ingestion of arsenic and other drinking water contaminants. A total of 640 individuals participated in this cross-sectional study carried out in an arsenic-affected rural population in Bangladesh. In this study daily per capita water consumption for drinking purposes was found to be 73.04 ml/kg/d (range= 71.24-74.84 ml/kg/d), which is higher than for both the US and Taiwan populations. This difference in per capita drinking water consumption might contribute to much higher lifetime cancer mortality and other morbidity risks from arsenic among the Bangladesh population compared to either the US or Taiwan populations. Arsenic is also ingested through cooking water which, if considered, might increase the risk further. The findings of this study highlight the urgent need for a holistic water supply programme for Bangladesh, with special emphasis on the arsenic-affected population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Water and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • arsenic
  • Bangladesh
  • water consumption
  • water supply


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