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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Title Groundwater arsenic and education attainment in Bangladesh
Author(s)
Volume 33
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL https://jhpn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41043-015-0029-6
Abstract
Background
Thousands of groundwater tube wells serving millions of Bangladeshis are arsenic contaminated. This study investigates the effect of these wells on the education attainment and school attendance of youths who rely on those wells for drinking water.

Methods
The analysis combines data from the 2006 Bangladesh Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2006 MICS) and the National Hydrochemical Survey (NHS) of Bangladeshi tube wells’ contamination conducted between 1998 and 2000. The study uses multiple regression analysis to estimate the differences in education attainment and school attendance among the following: (i) youths who live where tube wells are safe, (ii) youths who live where tube wells are unsafe but who report drinking from an arsenic-free source, and (iii) youths who live where tube wells are unsafe but who do not report drinking from an arsenic-free source.

Results
Controlling for other determinants of education attainment and school attendance, young Bangladeshi males who live where tube wells are unsafe (by Bangladeshis standards) but who report drinking from arsenic-free sources are found to have the same education attainment (among 19- to 21-year-olds) and school attendance (among 6- to 10-year-olds), on average, as corresponding young Bangladeshi males who live where wells are safe. But young Bangladeshi males who live where tube wells are unsafe and who do not report drinking from an arsenic-free source attain, on average, a half-year less education (among 19- to 21-year-olds) and attend school, on average, five to seven fewer days a year (among 6- to 10-year-olds) than do other Bagladeshi males of those ages. The estimated effects for females are of the same sign but much smaller in magnitude.

Conclusion
Bangladeshi public health measures to shift drinking from unsafe to safe wells not only advance good health but also increase males’ education attainment.

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