Arsenic in soil and groundwater: An overview

J. O. Nriagu*, P. Bhattacharya, A. B. Mukherjee, J. Bundschuh, R. Zevenhoven, R. H. Loeppert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

181 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contamination of the environment with arsenic (As) from both anthropogenic and natural sources has occurred in many parts of the world and is recognized as a global problem. Principal anthropogenic sources of As include base metal smelters, gold mines, power plants that burn As-rich coals or treated lumber, disposal sites for wastes from As-processing plants, as well as industrial and municipal dump sites. In many areas, the levels of As in the environment have become one of concern and epidemiological studies have documented various adverse health effects on local populations. Arsenic poisoning episodes from exposure to industrial sources have been reported all over the world; for instance, in Japan, where cases have been associated with pollution around As mines and pollution of groundwater around As-using industries and industrial waste burial sites. Other examples of contaminated environments with increased risk for As poisoning include agricultural lands treated with arsenical pesticides, urban areas, war zones defoliated or sprayed with As compounds, and the superfund sites in the United States and other countries. Although a lot of people get exposed, most often, however, it is not possible to associate the exposure to elevated As levels with adverse human health effects. Nevertheless, long-term cumulative exposure to As in these contaminated environments should be a matter of public health concern and scientific interest.

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
Pages3-60
Number of pages58
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameTrace Metals and other Contaminants in the Environment
Volume9
ISSN (Print)1875-1121

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