Arsenic exposure in Latin America: biomarkers, risk assessments and related health effects

McClintock, Tyler R. and Chen, Yu and Bundschuh, Jochen and Oliver, John T. and Navoni, Julio and Olmos, Valentina and Lepori, Edda Villaamil and Ahsan, Habibul and Parvez, Faruque (2012) Arsenic exposure in Latin America: biomarkers, risk assessments and related health effects. Science of the Total Environment, 429. pp. 76-91. ISSN 0048-9697

Abstract

In Latin America, several regions have a long history of widespread arsenic (As) contamination from both natural and anthropological sources. Yet, relatively little is known about the extent of As exposure from drinking water and its related health consequences in these countries. It has been estimated that at least 4.5 million people in Latin America are chronically exposed to high levels of As (> 50 μg/L), some to as high as 2000 μg/L - 200 times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) provisional standard for drinking water. We conducted a systematic review of 82 peer reviewed papers and reports to fully explore the current understanding of As exposure and its health effects, as well as the influence of genetic factors that modulate those effects in the populations of Latin America. Despite some methodological limitations, these studies suggested important links between the high levels of chronic As exposure and elevated risks of numerous adverse health outcomes in Latin America - including internal and external cancers, reproductive outcomes, and childhood cognitive function. Several studies demonstrated genetic polymorphisms that influence susceptibility to these and other disease states through their modulation of As metabolism, with As methyltransferase (AS3MT), glutathione S-transferase (GST), and genes of one-carbon metabolism being specifically implicated. While the full extent and nature of the health burden are yet to be known in Latin America, these studies have significantly enriched knowledge of As toxicity and led to subsequent research. Targeted future studies will not only yield a better understanding of the public health impact of As in Latin America populations, but also allow for effective and timely mitigation efforts.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Depositing User: epEditor USQ
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2012 23:46
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 01:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: arsenic; biomarkers; drinking water; internal malignancies; Latin America; toxicity
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 10 Technology > 1004 Medical Biotechnology > 100402 Medical Biotechnology Diagnostics (incl. Biosensors)
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.08.051
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/21702

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