DOH on alert vs arsenic contamination in Central Luzon

WHILE there is no recorded outbreak yet, the Department of Health (DOH) is currently on alert over the sudden rise ofarsenicosis cases in Central Luzon.

In a statement, outgoing DOH Secretary Janette Garin bared that they have already recorded 123 arsenicosis cases in the region as of June.

"Cases of elevated arsenic have been noted in parts of Central Luzon," said Garin.

As of June 2016, a total of 123 cases were reported to DOH with the source of the disease found to be the contaminated water source in the affected areas.

All said cases have undergone consultations and have been receiving medical attention, assured Garin.

High level of arsenic is naturally occurring in areas affected by volcanic eruption and can contaminate water and soil, said the DOH.

To address the problem, Garin said, the DOH is working with the Dutch government, in planning how to provide safe water to residents of the arsenic-affected areas in Central Luzon.

The collaboration aims to screen the scope of arsenic toxicity in Central Luzon, design of an improved water supply system, and implementation of water quality improvement programs.

"We always emphasize the importance of cleanliness not just to ourselves but also to our surroundings in order to prevent illnesses. These diseases may be prevented at no cost if we start proper hygiene and sanitation in our homes,” Garin said.

According to the World Health Organization, drinking arsenic-rich water over a long period results in adverse health effects, including skin problems (such as colour changes on the skin, and hard patches on the palms and soles of the feet), skin cancer, cancers of the bladder, kidney and lung, and diseases of the blood vessels of the legs and feet, and possibly also diabetes, high blood pressure, and reproductive disorders. (HDT/Sunnex)
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