Identifying the Hidden Costs of a Public Health Success: Arsenic Well Water Contamination and Productivity in Bangladesh

Abstract

In the 1970s and 1980s, the government of Bangladesh, with the support and financing of the United Nations Children’s Fund, promoted the digging of tube wells to provide clean drinking water and reduce the incidence of diarrheal disease. In the late 1990s, however, evidence indicated that groundwater was contaminated by naturally-occurring arsenic in 59 of the country’s 64 districts. In this paper we provide new estimates of (i) the effects of the consumption of foods grown and cooked in arsenic-contaminated water on individual arsenic concentrations and of (ii) the effects of the ingestion and retention of inorganic arsenic on direct measures of cognitive and physical capabilities as well as on the schooling attainment, occupational structure, entrepreneurship and incomes of the rural Bangladesh population

Citation

Pitt, M.M.; Rosenzweig, M.R.; Nazmul Hassan. Identifying the Hidden Costs of a Public Health Success: Arsenic Well WaterContamination and Productivity in Bangladesh. Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA (2012) 75 pp. [PSTC Working Paper Series 2012-02]

Identifying the Hidden Costs of a Public Health Success: Arsenic Well Water Contamination and Productivity in Bangladesh

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