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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 304524, 18 pages
Review Article

Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater: A Review of Sources, Prevalence, Health Risks, and Strategies for Mitigation

1Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow 226025, India
2Department of Chemistry, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology Jalandhar, Punjab 144011, India

Received 2 July 2014; Accepted 17 August 2014; Published 14 October 2014

Academic Editor: Andrei Surguchov

Copyright © 2014 Shiv Shankar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arsenic contamination of groundwater in different parts of the world is an outcome of natural and/or anthropogenic sources, leading to adverse effects on human health and ecosystem. Millions of people from different countries are heavily dependent on groundwater containing elevated level of As for drinking purposes. As contamination of groundwater, poses a serious risk to human health. Excessive and prolonged exposure of inorganic As with drinking water is causing arsenicosis, a deteriorating and disabling disease characterized by skin lesions and pigmentation of the skin, patches on palm of the hands and soles of the feet. Arsenic poisoning culminates into potentially fatal diseases like skin and internal cancers. This paper reviews sources, speciation, and mobility of As and global overview of groundwater As contamination. The paper also critically reviews the As led human health risks, its uptake, metabolism, and toxicity mechanisms. The paper provides an overview of the state-of-the-art knowledge on the alternative As free drinking water and various technologies (oxidation, coagulation flocculation, adsorption, and microbial) for mitigation of the problem of As contamination of groundwater.