Water of death: how arsenic is poisoning rural communities in India

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‘A crisis is brewing’, experts warn, with contaminated water exposing villagers to increased risk of cancer and affecting children’s brain development

Nine members of Pankaj Rai’s family have died from cancer over the past 20 years. But the 25-year-old farmer from Bihar only found out their deaths were likely a result of arsenic poisoning when his father got sick.

In 2017, Pankaj took his father, Ganesh Rai, to the Mahavir Cancer Institute & Research Centre in Patna. Ganesh had stage 4 kidney cancer. But Dr Arun Kumar, a scientist at the institute, identified the severe skin lesions on his body as signs of arsenic poisoning.

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