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Assessment of arsenic species in human hair, toenail and urine and their association with water and staple food

Abstract

Arsenic intake from household drinking/cooking water and food may represent a significant exposure pathway to induce cancer and non-cancer health effects. This study is based on the human biomonitoring of 395 volunteers from 223 households with private water sources located in rural Punjab, Pakistan. This work has shown the relative contribution of water and staple food to arsenic intake and accumulation by multiple biological matrix measurements of inorganic and organic arsenic species, while accounting for potential confounders such as age, gender, occupation, and exposure duration of the study population. Multi-variable linear regression showed a strong significant relationship between total arsenic (tAs) intake from water and concentrations of tAs, inorganic arsenic (iAs), monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) in urine and toenail samples. tAs intake from staple food (rice and wheat) also showed a strong significant relationship with hair tAs and iAs. The sole impact of staple food intake on biomarkers was assessed and a significant correlation was found with all of the urinary arsenic metabolites. Toenail was found to be the most valuable biomarker of past exposure to inorganic and organic arsenic species of dietary and metabolic origin.

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Acknowledgements

HR is grateful to the Schlumberger faculty for future fellowship, which enabled her to conduct field work and academic research as part of her PhD. We extend our thanks for the laboratory analysis support provided by the Brooks Applied Laboratory, USA.

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Correspondence to Hifza Rasheed.

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Rasheed, H., Kay, P., Slack, R. et al. Assessment of arsenic species in human hair, toenail and urine and their association with water and staple food. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 29, 624–632 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-018-0056-7

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Keywords:

  • Monomethylarsonic acid
  • Dimethylarsonic acid
  • Toenail arsenic
  • Dietary exposure
  • Urinary arsenic metabolites

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