Blackfoot Disease (SW Taiwan)

If you’re headed for Kending, Pingtung, KHH, etc., … dont’ drink artesian well water. From a medical journal article provided to me:

“Blackfoot disease (BFD) is a unique peripheral vascular disease reported
to be endemic in a circumscribed area located at the southwestern coast
of Taiwan. Blackfoot disease was so named due to the noted
characteristic progression from numbness/coldness of the lower
extremities to intermittent claudication and finally to gangrene and
spontaneous amputation. Epidemiologic studies have linked the etiology
of BFD to the ingestion of local artesian well water. Arsenic, ergot
alkaloid, organic chlorides, and humic acid have been identified in the
water. In addition, trace elements, such as molybdenum, mercury, copper,
and cadmium, were reported to be detectable in the serum and/or urine of
BFD patients and in ground water they used. However, extensive
epidemiologic studies favor arsenic as the most probable cause for BFD.
The specific role of arsenic is unclear but probably involves arsenic’s
atherogenicity causing peripheral vascular insufficiency and/or its
association with hypertension and diabetes mellitus causing peripheral

Tseng CH. An overview on peripheral vascular disease
in blackfoot disease- hyperendemic villages in Taiwan.
2002. Angiology

That was a great tragedy 30 years ago: … 2003435223

As to what remains today -or is being added- better not think about it… and take precautions, if possible.

Almost all the BFD cases were along the Bazhang River which divides Tainan and Chaiyi. There have been very few in recent years because the drinking/cooking water is piped in from some distance away. However, crops grown there still have traces of arsenic. It’s only if you’re exposed year after year do you run a serious risk of developing the disease.

Worry more about auto accidents etc!