According to the World Health Organization, some of the known health hazards of chronic arsenic ingestion through drinking water include cancer of the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney, as well as other skin changes such as pigmentation and thickening, also known as hyperkeratosis. With this information, industry participants can expect significant opportunities in the fields of arsenic detection and development of efficient mitigation methodologies.
"The magnitude of the arsenic contamination of drinking water resources around the world is the driving force behind the advancement and growth of emerging treatment technologies," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Eric Meliton. "Technological advances in the mitigation of arsenic will determine how much longer millions of people around the world will continue to be exposed to this contaminant through their drinking water resources."
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Countries greatly affected by arsenic contamination of drinking water resources include the United States, China, India and Bangladesh. The problem also affects populations in North and South America, along with other parts of Asia. Although current technological practices such as flocculation and adsorptive filter media address these issues, emerging technologies will continue to push the worldwide mitigation of arsenic. Various examples of mitigation nanotechnology will become the norm in the near future.
The sheer volume of those affected by arsenic contamination proves a major challenge for the industry. Millions of people in third world nations need mitigation technologies, medical treatment and infrastructure to properly address the issue on a long-term basis. Moreover, considering the lack of national funding, the extensive costs of high-tech mitigation practices, and the lack of knowledge and awareness of the people living in affected areas, arsenic contamination could potentially pose problems for many years to come.
"As new mitigation technologies continue to emerge, manufacturers and developers of current technologies must adapt to the changing demands of the marketplace," says Meliton. "Most importantly, participants will need to work toward lowering product costs so as to make them affordable in third world countries."
Emerging technologies must continue to enhance mitigation practices and create partnerships with national governments and world aid organizations to continue to address contamination issues in affected countries. R&D of treatment technologies must also occur at the source of the issue so that those affected will not continue to live with this burden.
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