A map of central Mexico that uses different colors to show variations of arsenic concentrations in groundwater.
Variations of arsenic concentrations in groundwater from Central Mexico. Warm colors reflect high arsenic concentrations above the drinking water standard. Credit: Knappett et al. [2022], Figure 2
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: GeoHealth

Many studies have demonstrated the health effects induced from long-term exposure to contaminants such as arsenic and fluoride in drinking water, as well as the hydrological effects upon over-exploration of depleted aquifers.

Knappett et al. [2022] further explore the economic and human health implications by integrating the outcomes of the economic gains from continued agricultural development, as opposed to the health and economic effects from children exposure to increasing concentrations of naturally occurring contaminants in groundwater from Central Mexico. Through a holistic approach that integrates economics and human health, the authors predict the outcome of different pumping scenarios and the possible remediation solutions, such as growing alternative crops to save water and treating drinking water to remove the neurotoxins.

This research clearly shows that preventing the exposure of children to contaminants by water treatment is beneficial also from an economic perspective and infers a more prosperous future to the local rural communities in Central Mexico.

Citation: Knappett, P. S. K., Farias, P., Miller, G. R., Hoogesteger, J., Li, Y., Mendoza-Sanchez, I., et al. (2022). A Systems Approach to Remediating Human Exposure to Arsenic and Fluoride from Overexploited Aquifers. GeoHealth, 6, e2022GH000592. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GH000592

—Avner Vengosh, Editor, GeoHealth

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