Blackfoot Disease is endemic to the southwestern coast of Taiwan, also known as the 'Saltland Area.' The locals call it Blackfoot Disease because one of the most visible symptoms of those afflicted is that the skin turns black. This being the result of arterial accrusion, causing subsequent keratinization (hardening of skin and tissue) and muscle atrophy (which necessitates amputation in some cases). Since the time of the Japanese occupation, incidents of this disease have already been noted. But because it was not a common disease, authorities paid no attention to it. It was not until 1956 when there was an outbreak of this disease that infected a whole village in Tainan that the government began to take the situation seriously. They installed clean water pipes and educated locals not to drink the underground water which contains arsenic. The epidemic was eventually controlled, and later forgotten. Forty years later, twenty some cases resembling this disease began to reappear.
Source: Taiwan Int'l Documentary Festival
2000 Annual ROC Documentary Awards
2000 Taiwna International Documentary Festival - Taiwan Focus: Landscape of Life
2000 Taiwna International Documentary Festival