Risk Analysis

An Application of the Holistochastic Human Exposure Methodology to Naturally Occurring Arsenic in Bangladesh Drinking Water

Journal Article

The occurrence of arsenic in drinking water is an issue of considerable interest. In the case of Bangladesh, arsenic concentrations have been closely monitored since the early 1990s through an extensive sampling network. The focus of the present work is methodological. In particular, we propose the application of a holistochastic framework of human exposure to study lifetime population damage due to arsenic exposure across Bangladesh. The Bayesian Maximum Entropy theory is an important component of this framework, which possesses solid theoretical foundations and offers powerful tools to assimilate a variety of knowledge bases (physical, epidemiologic, toxicokinetic, demographic, etc.) and uncertainty sources (soft data, measurement errors, etc.). The holistochastic exposure approach leads to physically meaningful and informative spatial maps of arsenic distribution in Bangladesh drinking water. Global indicators of the adverse health effects on the population are generated, and valuable insight is gained by blending information from different scientific disciplines. The numerical results indicate an increased lifetime bladder cancer probability for the Bangladesh population due to arsenic. The health effect estimates obtained and the associated uncertainty assessments are valuable tools for a broad spectrum of end‐users.

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