November 10, 1998: New York Times headline–Death by Arsenic: A Special Report.; New Bangladesh Disaster: Wells That Pump Poison. “Bangladesh is in the midst of what some experts say could be the biggest mass poisoning in history. Dangerous levels of arsenic have been found in the ground water, entering millions of people sip by sip as they drink from a vast system of tube wells. Most of these hand-operated pumps are 10 to 20 years old, about the same period it takes the arsenic to do its lethal work, killing with one of several cancers.
The unfolding crisis is the unintended consequence of a colossally successful safe-water program. For 25 years, the Government along with Unicef and other aid groups have weaned villagers from disease-carrying pond water and helped them to sink pipes into underground aquifers. Overlooked was the naturally occurring arsenic that tainted these subterranean sources.”
Commentary: Calling this program “colossally successful” is a tragedy and wrong. In the future, this program will be viewed as one of the world’s greatest environmental disasters and failures of public policy.
November 10, 2000: First issue of Safedrinkingwater.com NEWS–a weekly newsletter devoted to media stories about drinking water quality that was published by McGuire Environmental Consultants, Inc. and sent by email to its more than 6000 subscribers. Our intent was clear: “Our intent is to make this newsletter the best and first source of news and information for drinking water quality professionals, with a combination of timely articles and incisive commentary from the leading observers in the industry.” In this first issue we reported on development of the arsenic regulation and hexavalent chromium issues in southern California.