Arsenic speciation in the urine and hair of individuals exposed to airborne arsenic through coal-burning in Guizhou, PR China.

Research Center for Environmental Risk, National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, 305-8506, Ibaraki, Japan.
Toxicology Letters (Impact Factor: 3.36). 02/2003; 137(1-2):35-48. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4274(02)00379-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The extent of exposure of residents of Changqing (Guizhou, PR China) to arsenic through coal-burning was investigated. Despite the low coal-arsenic content (56.3+/-42.5 mg As kg(-1)) when compared with coals collected at different location and times from the same province, more than 30% of the study subjects have shown symptoms of arsenicosis. Coal, urine, hair, and water samples were collected in mid-September 2001 and analysed for arsenic. The average urinary and hair-arsenic concentrations in the exposed subjects were 71.4+/-37.1 microg As g(-1) creatinine (control 41.6+/-12.1) and 7.99+/-8.16 mg kg(-1), respectively. A positive correlation between the hair and urinary-arsenic concentration (R(2)=0.601) was found. There was no significant difference between females and males for both urinary and hair-arsenic concentrations. Females were found to have a higher dimethylarsinic acid but lower percentages of inorganic arsenic and monomethylarsonic acid in their urine than males.

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    ABSTRACT: In Ghana, mining plays a significant role in the economic recovery programme. However, the gains are achieved at the cost of environmental and human health. For many years, the extraction of gold involved roasting which released airborne particles and large quantities of arsenic (As). Sampling for this study was conducted in March 2004 to assess the contamination status of trace elements, especially As, in water and mine workers in Tarkwa, which has nearly a century of gold mining history. Water and human urine samples were collected from Tarkwa, in addition to control samples taken from Accra, the capital of Ghana. Arsenic excretion was assessed in the first morning void urine. Concentrations of As and Mn in some water samples from Tarkwa were above the WHO drinking water guidelines. A potential health risk of As and Mn is a concern for the people consuming the contaminated water in this area. Levels of trace elements in water from control site were low compared to levels from Tarkwa. The mean urinary As concentration of 260 µgl -1 from the study area was comparable to those in As-endemic areas of the world. This indicates relatively high degree of human exposure to As in Tarkwa, Ghana. Relatively low levels of As in water and no significant difference of As concentrations in urine between Tarkwa and Accra may suggest the presence of other sources of As contamination in Ghana, possibly food. This is the first study reporting 23 trace elements in human urine samples from a mining town in Ghana. Introduction Arsenic (As) is an ubiquitous element found in several forms in foods and environmental media such as soil, air and water. The predominant form in drinking water is inorganic As, which is both highly toxic and readily bioavailable (Valenzuela et al., 2005). Chronic ingestion of inorganic As-contaminated drinking water is, therefore, considered the major pathway behind the risk to human health. It was estimated that 200 million people worldwide are at risk from health effects associated with high concentrations of As in their drinking water (NRC, 2001). Large scale human exposure to As through contaminated groundwater is a serious health threat in many Asian and Latin American countries (Watanabe et al., 2001). With the exception of some studies in Taiwan (Tseng, 1977; Hsueh et al., 1998), attention has only recently been given to the epidemiological and human toxicological aspects of this contamination. In Ghana, mining constitutes a great portion of the country's gross national product, and is the bedrock of the country's economic recovery programme. Ghana is a major gold producing country in West Africa and gold accounts for the second largest foreign exchange earner after cocoa. However, the gains are achieved at the cost of environmental and human health. Exploitation of gold puts immense stress on air, water, soil, and vegetation, and also, frequently, poses hazards to human health (Amonoo-Neizer & Amekor, 1993). For many years, the extraction of gold involved roasting which released airborne particles and large quantities of As (14–19 tons) daily in Obuasi (Amonoo-Neizer & Amekor, 1993). The main prospects in Ghana occur at Obuasi, Tarkwa, Prestea, Bibiani, Bogoso and Dunkwa, with the gold occurring in close association with sulphide minerals, especially arsenopyrite and pyrite (Smedley, 1996). In Obuasi, which is the most important mining area in Ghana, arsenic contamination of food and water has been linked with gold-mining activities. Smedley et al. (1996) reported concentrations of up to 350 µg l -1 in stream waters affected directly by mining pollution in Obuasi area, and Amonoo-Neizer & Amekor (1993) reported high As concentrations in food crops (0.12–70.5 mg kg -1) also in Obuasi. At least 10% of Ghana's rural borehole wells have As concentrations exceeding 10 µg l -1 (Mead, 2005). Earlier studies reported that mining operations have resulted in significant, localized surface water, soil, plant, some food items, human hair and atmospheric As pollution in Obuasi (Smedley et al., 1996; Smedley & Kinniburgh, 2002; Amonoo-Neizer & Busari, 1980; Amasa, 1975; Amonoo-Neizer, 1980).
    West African Journal of Applied Ecology 09/2009; 12(1). DOI:10.4314/wajae.v12i1.45751
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    Toxicology Reports 01/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.toxrep.2014.08.007
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    Applied Geochemistry 12/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.09.010 · 2.02 Impact Factor

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