Arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries.
Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
Contaminated water used for drinking, food preparation and irrigation of food crops poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic.
Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.
The most important action in affected communities is the prevention of further exposure to arsenic by provision of a safe water supply.