High level of arsenic found in lake waters of 9 towns in Batangas

Arnell Ozaeta - Philstar.com
High level of arsenic found in lake waters of 9 towns in Batangas
View of Taal Lake in Batangas province, south of Manila, pictured on Nov. 21, 2020.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo IV

BATANGAS, Philippines — At least nine towns here were found positive with high level of arsenic in their lake waters, provincial task force said. 

In a meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Arsenic – Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL) revealed that the towns of Laurel, Balete, San Nicolas, Mataas na Kahoy, Alitagtag, Sta. Teresita, Lemery, Taal and the city of Tanauan have high level of arsenic in their lake waters. 

Dr. Rhodora Reyes, Batangas Medical Center Toxicology Center chief and head of the Provincial IATF on Arsenic-TVPL said that arsenic is a kind of chemical which is carcinogenic or may cause cancer in the skin or lungs. 

Reyes said these chemicals can be inhaled or taken by drinking contaminated water. 

The high level of arsenic in the said areas was first recorded when the Taal Volcano erupted on Jan. 12, 2020, reaching 10 parts per billion (pbb) or higher than the standard or normal level. 

As a preventive measure, the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office allocated P3.5 million from their trust fund for water testing in the affected areas. 

In light of the detected arsenic contamination in Taal Lake waters, the Provincial Health Office advised the following:

  • Avoid drinking or taking in lake water since it is not safe. 
  • Limit number of hours of swimming or submerging in the water since long exposure can be harmful 
  • Make sure to take a shower or take a bath after swimming in the lake

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