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Naturally occurring hazards

Introduction

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Water gathers constituents from the rocks and ground through which it permeates. This process is unavoidable, although water treatment can reduce levels of natural contaminants. In the case of mineral waters, the rich variety of trace elements can be a highly prized asset, giving distinctive taste as well as potential health properties. However, contamination is not always so benign in its effects. This is demonstrated by the recent public health emergency in Bangladesh: high levels of arsenic in well water has caused widespread chronic poisoning. Also toxic in excess, fluoride is present in all waters at some concentration. At low levels it is undoubtedly beneficial for dental health. At high levels fluoride deposits on teeth and bones, a condition known as fluorosis. While some communities have too much natural fluoride in their drinking water, others have too little to have beneficial effects.

Naturally occurring hazards: 1,2,3,4,5,6 | Next page

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