One century of arsenic exposure in Latin America: a review of history and occurrence from 14 countries

Bundschuh, Jochen and Litter, Marta I. and Parvez, Faruque and Roman-Ross, Gabriela and Nicolli, Hugo B. and Jean, Jiin-Shuh and Liu, Chen-Wuing and Lopez, Dina and Armienta, Maria A. and Guilherme, Luiz R. G. and Cuevas, Alina Gomez and Cornejo, Lorena and Cumbal, Luis and Toujaguez, Regla (2012) One century of arsenic exposure in Latin America: a review of history and occurrence from 14 countries. Science of the Total Environment, 429. pp. 2-35. ISSN 0048-9697

Abstract

The global impact on public health of elevated arsenic (As) in water supplies is highlighted by an increasing number of countries worldwide reporting high As concentrations in drinking water. In Latin America, the problem of As contamination in water is known in 14 out of 20 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Uruguay. Considering the 10 μg/L limit for As in drinking water established by international and several national agencies, the number of exposed people is estimated to be about 14 million. Health effects of As exposure were identified for the first time already in the 1910s in Bellville (Córdoba province, Argentina). Nevertheless, contamination of As in waters has been detected in 10 Latin American countries only within the last 10 to 15 years. Arsenic is mobilized predominantly from young volcanic rocks and their weathering products. In alluvial aquifers, which are water sources frequently used for water supply, desorption of As from metal oxyhydroxides at high pH (> 8) is the predominant mobility control; redox conditions are moderate reducing to oxidizing and As(V) is the predominant species. In the Andes, the Middle American cordillera and the Transmexican Volcanic Belt, oxidation of sulfide minerals is the primary As mobilization process. Rivers that originate in the Andean mountains, transport As to more densely populated areas in the lowlands (e.g. Rímac river in Peru, Pilcomayo river in Bolivia/Argentina/Paraguay). In many parts of Latin America, As often occurs together with F and B; in the Chaco–Pampean plain As is found additionally with V, Mo and U whereas in areas with sulfide ore deposits As often occurs together with heavy metals. These co-occurrences and the anthropogenic activities in mining areas that enhance the mobilization of As and other pollutants make more dramatic the environmental problem.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Available online 29 September 2011. Permanent restricted access to published version of article due to copyright policy of publisher (Elsevier).
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2013 07:08
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 05:00
Uncontrolled Keywords: Latin America; geogenic arsenic; arsenic occurrence and mobilization; groundwater; surface water; mining
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
09 Engineering > 0914 Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy > 091402 Geomechanics and Resources Geotechnical Engineering
09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090509 Water Resources Engineering
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960908 Mining Land and Water Management
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961199 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.06.024
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/20966

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