Tag Archives: arsenic

Arsenic Removal by Table Top Water Pitcher Filters

Barnaby R, Liefeld A, Jackson BP, Hampton TH, Stanton, BA. Effectiveness of table top water pitcher filters to remove arsenic from drinking water. Environmental research. 2017 Jul 15;158:610-615. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.07.018.

Arsenic contamination of drinking water is a serious threat to the health of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In the United States ~3 million individuals drink well water that contains arsenic levels above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10μg/L. Several technologies are available to remove arsenic from well water including anion exchange, adsorptive media and reverse osmosis. In addition, bottled water is an alternative to drinking well water contaminated with arsenic. However, there are several drawbacks associated with these approaches including relatively high cost and, in the case of bottled water, the generation of plastic waste. In this study, we tested the ability of five tabletop water pitcher filters to remove arsenic from drinking water. We report that only one tabletop water pitcher filter tested, ZeroWater®, reduced the arsenic concentration, both As3+ and As5+, from 1000μg/L to < 3μg/L, well below the MCL. Moreover, the amount of total dissolved solids or competing ions did not affect the ability of the ZeroWater® filter to remove arsenic below the MCL. Thus, the ZeroWater® pitcher filter is a cost effective and short-term solution to remove arsenic from drinking water and its use reduces plastic waste associated with bottled water.

Inorganic Arsenic Exposure from US Rice and Total Water Intake

Madhavi Mantha, Edward Yeary, John Trent, Patricia A. Creed, Kevin Kubachka, Traci Hanley, Nohora Shockey, Douglas Heitkemper, Joseph Caruso, Jianping Xue, Glenn Rice, Larry Wymer, and John T. Creed. Estimating Inorganic Arsenic Exposure from U.S. Rice and Total Water Intakes Environmental Health Perspectives https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP418

BACKGROUND: Among nonoccupationally exposed U.S. residents, drinking water and diet are considered primary exposure pathways for inorganic arsenic
(iAs). In drinking water, iAs is the primary form of arsenic (As), while dietary As speciation techniques are used to differentiate iAs from less toxic arsenicals in food matrices.

OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to estimate the distribution of iAs exposure rates from drinking water intakes and rice consumption in the U.S. population
and ethnic- and age-based subpopulations.

METHODS: The distribution of iAs in drinking water was estimated by population, weighting the iAs concentrations for each drinking water utility in
the Second Six-Year Review data set. To estimate the distribution of iAs concentrations in rice ingested by U.S. consumers, 54 grain-specific, production-weighted composites of rice obtained from U.S. mills were extracted and speciated using both a quantitative dilute nitric acid extraction and speciation
(DNAS) and an in vitro gastrointestinal assay to provide an upper bound and bioaccessible estimates, respectively. Daily drinking water intake
and rice consumption rate distributions were developed using data from the What We Eat in America (WWEIA) study.

RESULTS: Using these data sets, the Stochastic Human Exposure and Dose Simulation (SHEDS) model estimated mean iAs exposures from drinking
water and rice were 4.2 ug/day and 1.4 ug/day, respectively, for the entire U.S. population. The Tribal, Asian, and Pacific population exhibited the
highest mean daily exposure of iAs from cooked rice (2.8 ug/day); the mean exposure rate for children between ages 1 and 2 years in this population
is 0.104 ug/kg body weight (BW)/day.

CONCLUSIONS: An average consumer drinking 1.5 L of water daily that contains between 2 and 3 ng iAs/mL is exposed to approximately the same
amount of iAs as a mean Tribal, Asian, and Pacific consumer is exposed to from rice. 

Human exposure to arsenic in household water, Pakistan

Rasheed H, Kay P, Slack R, Gong YY, Carter A. Human exposure assessment of different arsenic species in household water sources in a high risk arsenic area. The Science of the total environment. 2017 Jan 25. pii: S0048-9697(17)30098-0. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.089.

Understanding arsenic speciation in water is important for managing the potential health risks associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Most arsenic monitoring studies to date have only measured total arsenic, with few looking at arsenic species. This study assessed 228 ground water sources in six unstudied villages in Pakistan for total, inorganic and organic arsenic species using ion chromatography inductively coupled plasma collision reaction cell mass spectrometry. The concentration levels approached 3090μgL-1 (95% CI, 130.31, 253.06) for total arsenic with a median of 57.55μgL-1, 3430μgL-1 (median=52) for arsenate (As+5) and 100μgL-1 (median=0.37) for arsenite (As+3). Exceedance of the WHO provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water (10μgL-1) occurred in 89% of water sources. Arsenic was present mainly as arsenate (As+5). Average daily intake of total arsenic for 398 residents living in the sampled houses was found up to 236.51μgkg-1day-1. This exposure estimate has indicated that 63% of rural residents exceeded the World Health Organization’s provisional tolerable daily intake (PTDI) of 2.1μgkg-1day-1 body weight. Average daily intake of As+5 was found to be 15.63μgkg-1day-1 (95% CI, 5.53, 25.73) for children ≤16 and 15.07μgkg-1day-1 (95% CI, 10.33, 18.02) for adults. A mean daily intake of 0.09μgkg-1day-1 was determined for As+3 for children and 0.26μgkg-1day-1 for adults. Organic arsenic species such as monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and Arsenobetaine (AsB) were found to be below their method detection limits (MDLs).

Drinking Water Arsenic Inversely Associated with Suicide Rates, Italy

Pompili M, Vichi M, Dinelli E, Erbuto D, Pycha R, Serafini G, Giordano G, Valera P, Albanese S, Lima A, De Vivo B, Cicchella D, Rihmer Z, Fiorillo A, Amore M, Girardi P, Baldessarini RJ. Arsenic: Association of regional concentrations in drinking water with suicide and natural causes of death in Italy. Psychiatry research. 2017 Jan 18;249:311-317. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.041.

Arsenic, as a toxin, may be associated with higher mortality rates, although its relationship to suicide is not clear. Given this uncertainty, we evaluated associations between local arsenic concentrations in tapwater and mortality in regions of Italy, to test the hypothesis that both natural-cause and suicide death rates would be higher with greater trace concentrations of arsenic. Arsenic concentrations in drinking-water samples from 145 sites were assayed by mass spectrometry, and correlated with local rates of mortality due to suicide and natural causes between 1980 and 2011, using weighted, least-squares univariate and multivariate regression modeling. Arsenic concentrations averaged 0.969 (CI: 0.543-1.396) µg/L, well below an accepted safe maximum of 10µg/L. Arsenic levels were negatively associated with corresponding suicide rates, consistently among both men and women in all three study-decades, whereas mortality from natural causes increased with arsenic levels. Contrary to an hypothesized greater risk of suicide with higher concentrations of arsenic, we found a negative association, suggesting a possible protective effect, whereas mortality from natural causes was increased, in accord with known toxic effects of arsenic. The unexpected inverse association between arsenic and suicide requires further study.

Dose-Response Assessment of Inorganic Arsenic and Lung Cancer, Taiwan

Hsu KH, Tsui KH, Hsu LI, Chiou HY, Chen CJ. Dose-Response Relationship between Inorganic Arsenic Exposure and Lung Cancer among Arseniasis Residents with Low Methylation Capacity. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Dec 22. pii: cebp.0281.2016. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0281.

Background: Exposure to inorganic arsenic (InAs) has been documented as a risk factor for lung cancer. This study examined the association between InAs exposure, its metabolism, and lung cancer occurrence.

Methods: We followed 1300 residents from an arseniasis area in Taiwan, determined urinary InAs metabolites, and identified 39 lung cancer cases. Cox proportional hazard model was performed.

Results: The results demonstrated that participants with either the primary methylation index (monomethylarsonic acid [MMA]/InAs) or the secondary methylation index (dimethylarsinic acid[DMA]/MMA) lower than their respective median values were at a higher risk of lung cancer (hazard ratios from 3.41 to 4.66) than those with high methylation capacity. The incidence density of lung cancer increased from 79.9/100000 (year-1) to 467.4/100000 (year-1) for residents with low methylation capacity and from 0 to 158.5/100000 (year-1) for residents with high methylation capacity when the arsenic exposure dose increased from 2-10 ppb to ≥200 ppb, respectively. The analyses revealed a dose-response relationship between lung cancer occurrence and increasing arsenic concentrations in drinking water as well as cumulative arsenic exposure (monotonic trend test; P < .05 and P < .05, respectively) among the residents with low methylation capacity. The relationship between arsenic exposure and lung cancer among high methylaters was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Hypomethylation responses to InAs exposure may dose-dependently increase lung cancer occurrence.

Impact: The high-risk characteristics observed among those exposed should be considered in future preventive medicine and research on arsenic carcinogenesis.

480 Million India Inhabitants Exposed to Elevated Arsenic and Fluoride

Chakraborti D, Rahman MM, Chatterjee A, Das D, Das B, Nayak B, Pal A, Chowdhury UK, Ahmed S, Biswas BK, Sengupta MK, Lodh D, Samanta G, Chakraborty S, Roy MM, Dutta RN, Saha KC, Mukherjee SC, Pati S, Kar PB. Fate of over 480 million inhabitants living in arsenic and fluoride endemic Indian districts: Magnitude, health, socio-economic effects and mitigation approaches. Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology. 2016 Dec;38:33-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.05.001.

During our last 27 years of field survey in India, we have studied the magnitude of groundwater arsenic and fluoride contamination and its resulting health effects from numerous states. India is the worst groundwater fluoride and arsenic affected country in the world. Fluoride results the most prevalent groundwater related diseases in India. Out of a total 29 states in India, groundwater of 20 states is fluoride affected. Total population of fluoride endemic 201 districts of India is 411 million (40% of Indian population) and more than 66 million people are estimated to be suffering from fluorosis including 6 million children below 14 years of age. Fluoride may cause a crippling disease. In 6 states of the Ganga-Brahmaputra Plain (GB-Plain), 70.4 million people are potentially at risk from groundwater arsenic toxicity. Three additional states in the non GB-Plain are mildly arsenic affected. For arsenic with substantial cumulative exposure can aggravate the risk of cancers along with various other diseases. Clinical effects of fluoride includes abnormal tooth enamel in children; adults had joint pain and deformity of the limbs, spine etc. The affected population chronically exposed to arsenic and fluoride from groundwater is in danger and there is no available medicine for those suffering from the toxicity. Arsenic and fluoride safe water and nutritious food are suggested to prevent further aggravation of toxicity. The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that social problems arising from arsenic and fluoride toxicity eventually create pressure on the economy of the affected areas. In arsenic and fluoride affected areas in India, crisis is not always having too little safe water to satisfy our need, it is the crisis of managing the water.

Health Risk of Arsenic in Groundwater, Taiwan

Liang CP, Wang SW, Kao YH, Chen JS. Health risk assessment of groundwater arsenic pollution in southern Taiwan. Environ Geochem Health. 2016 Dec;38(6):1271-1281.

Residents of the Pingtung Plain, Taiwan, use groundwater for drinking. However, monitoring results showed that a considerable portion of groundwater has an As concentration higher than the safe drinking water regulation of 10 μg/L. Considering residents of the Pingtung Plain continue to use groundwater for drinking, this study attempted to evaluate the exposure and health risk from drinking groundwater. The health risk from drinking groundwater was evaluated based on the hazard quotient (HQ) and target risk (TR) established by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The results showed that the 95th percentile of HQ exceeded 1 and TR was above the safe value of threshold value of 10-6. To illustrate significant variability of the drinking water consumption rate and body weight of each individual, health risk assessments were also performed using a spectrum of daily water intake rate and body weight to reasonably and conservatively assess the exposure and health risk for the specific subgroups of population of the Pingtung Plain. The assessment results showed that 0.01-7.50 % of the population’s HQ levels are higher than 1 and as much as 77.7-93.3 % of the population being in high cancer risk category and having a TR value >10-6. The TR estimation results implied that groundwater use for drinking purpose places people at risk of As exposure. The government must make great efforts to provide safe drinking water for residents of the Pingtung Plain.