600,000 people in Serbia drink water with Arsenic

Around a million people in Serbia, Croatia and Hungary drink carcinogenic water. In Serbia, the most critical situation with drinking water is in Vojvodina, where 653,000 people drink water with Arsenic.

The only parts of Vojvodina where arsenic water is not used is the central part of Srem, South Banat and Telecka plateau, which means that 40% of citizens in Vojvodina drink unhealthy water.

“The situation is alarming! The population in Serbia, Croatia, and Hungary all drink water with arsenic”, says Bozo Dalmacija, a professor from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Novi Sad. Professor Dalmacija has been the leader of the team that has been researching the water quality in Serbia, including Vojvodina, for years.

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All three countries prescribe maximum arsenic levels of 10 micrograms per litre, µg/L. That is the threshold recommended by the WHO, set by EU law and adopted by many non-EU countries including Serbia.

There are dozens of cities, towns and villages where arsenic levels dwarf that amount, despite national commitments to clean up water supplies. Readings in one Serbian town, Novi Becej, reached 27 times the legal limit. Kikinda and Temerin are also critical as far as the quality of the drinking water goes.

A 2012 study in Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, conducted under the EU Arsenic Health Risk Assessment and Molecular Epidemiology programme led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found strong evidence of an association between long-term, low-level exposure to arsenic in drinking water and Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most frequent form of skin cancer.

(B92, 21.03.2018)



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