Arsenic Center - Cambodia


Arsenic contamination in drinking water sources and mitigation response


This web site is designed to provide information about the issues of arsenic contamination in drinking water sources in Cambodia and the mitigation efforts coordinated by the AISC (Arsenic Inter-Ministerial Sub-Committee) secretariat


Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil, water, air, and plants and animals. It is odorless, tasteless and colorless, and it can only be detected by chemical testing.


Arsenic is toxic to humans in high concentrations but also causes long term health impacts if consumed regularly at low concentrations (chronic toxicity). Ingestion of arsenic contaminated groundwater over a long period of time causes a medical condition known as arsenicosis. Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.


Arsenic contamination in drinking water sources in Cambodia was detected during the National Drinking Water Quality Assessment, conducted jointly by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) between 1999 and 2000.


After the discovery of arsenic in 2001, the government has initiated key mitigation responses such as (1) establishment of Arsenic Inter-ministerial Sub Committee (AISC), (2) development of National Drinking Water Standards, (3) coordination of a national testing, (4) marking of well and arsenic database, (5) communication program, (6) promotion of alternative arsenic safe water, (7) capacity building and advocacy development development of a 5 year arsenic mitigation strategic action plans.


The Arsenic Centre (AC) was established in 2008 with support from Unicef to serve as a coordination centre for arsenic mitigation activities and also as an information sharing and networking office. Particular information such as arsenic data, arsenic map, and other related documents are available here in this website.