Published: Friday 31 August 2001

Drinking water in some parts of northern Vietnam is contaminated with arsenic levels 50 times higher than the set standards, according to a recent study. Due to this, more than 11 million people are facing heath hazards, claims Michael Berg, research team's leader of the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology.

"The report is the first scientific evidence of hitherto unknown and potentially hazardous arsenic levels in the drinking water of the country," claims Berg. The main reasons behind the problem are tubewells that are tapped in arsenic-contaminated underground aquifers. After testing 69 wells, researchers found the average arsenic levels to be more than three times the nation's 50 microgramme per litre health standard.

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