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The World in Medicine
October 9, 2002

To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1708. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1708

Many of the millions of people in Bangladesh who are being poisoned by arsenic-tainted well water could be spared by simply using water from nearby uncontaminated wells, according to a study by researchers from Bangladesh and the United States.

While only about half of the nearly 5000 wells in the Araihazar district met Bangladesh standards for drinking water, 88% of people with tainted wells lived within 100 m of a safe well, and 95% within 200 m, the researchers discovered. While simple in theory, however, there are potential social barriers to achieving wide-scale well switching. Most wells are privately owned, and women are discouraged from venturing unaccompanied beyond their bari, or cluster of related households.

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