Arsenic flows in the environment of the European Union: A synoptic review

R. Zevenhoven*, A. B. Mukherjee, P. Bhattacharya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


During the last two decades, a number of studies were made directed towards the problem of As in groundwater, the mechanisms by which As is released from natural sources and its toxic effects on humans, animals and terrestrial plants in developing countries. There has been negligible focus on As in waste and other materials in modern industrial societies. This work evaluates materials containing As, waste from those and their flows in the European Union (EU-15 states), based on the data available since the 1990s. Due to its high toxicity, the recovery of As in metallurgical industries has been sharply reduced in recent years, although two facilities continue with the production of arsenic trioxide in the EU-15. The uses of As are documented for the glass industry, in wood preservation, in photochemical devices and many other applications. Atmospheric emission of As has decreased substantially since the mid-1990s. But still, coal combustion and metallurgical industry are the main sources of atmospheric emission of As in the EU-15. Arsenic is also an intrinsic part of fly ashes, copper-chromium-arsenic (CCA)-impregnated wood products and sewage sludges. The generation of waste within the EU-15 is enormous and As concentrations vary from 1.8 to 10 mg/kg. This indicates that through waste, 31-88 t of As are disposed off in landfills annually. The leaching of As from landfills has been observed in EU-15 states. Automotive shredder residue contains 20-25 mg/kg As and its disposal in landfills contributes 4-6 t/year As to the EU-15 soils.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrace Metals and other Contaminants in the Environment
Subtitle of host publicationBiogeochemical Interactions, Health Effects and Remediation
EditorsProsun Bhattacharya, Arun Mukherjee, Joche Bundschuh, Ron Zevenhoven, Richard Loeppert
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameTrace Metals and other Contaminants in the Environment
ISSN (Print)1875-1121


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