Arsenic in Latin America: a critical overview on the geochemistry of arsenic originating from geothermal features and volcanic emissions for solving its environmental consequences

Morales-Simfors, Nury and Bundschuh, Jochen and Herath, Indika and Inguaggiato, Claudio and Caselli, Alberto T. and Tapia, Joseline and Apaza Choquehuayta, Fredy Erlingtton and Armienta, Maria Aurora and Ormachea, Mauricio and Joseph, Erouscilla and Lopez, Dina L. (2020) Arsenic in Latin America: a critical overview on the geochemistry of arsenic originating from geothermal features and volcanic emissions for solving its environmental consequences. Science of the Total Environment, 716:135564. pp. 1-32. ISSN 0048-9697


Abstract

Geothermal fluids and volcanic emissions are important sources of arsenic (As), resulting in elevated concentrations of As in ground-, surface-water and soil, which may adversely affect the environment. Arsenic originating from geothermal features and volcanic activities is common in Latin America forming a serious threat to the livelihoods of millions of people. This review attempts to provide a critical overview of the geochemistry of As originating from these sources in Latin America to understand what information exists about and what future research needs to be undertaken. This study evaluated 15 countries in Latin America. In total, 423 sites were characterized with As originating from geothermal sources, mostly related to present volcanic activity (0.001 < As<73 mg/L, mean: 36.5 mg/L) and the transboundary Guarani Aquifer System (0.001 < As<0.114 mg/L, mean: 0.06 mg/L). Many of the geothermal systems and volcanoes discussed in this study are close to densely populated cities, including Bogota, Managua, San José, Guatemala City and Mexico City, where total As concentrations in natural ground- and surface- water exceed the safe drinking water guideline of 0.01 mg/L, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the wide geographical occurrence of As in geothermal fluids and volcanic emissions of this region is by far not fully understood, so that development of geographical maps based on geographic information system (GIS) is an urgent necessity to understand the real nature of the problem. The assessment of environmental risks and the potential impacts on human health both inadequate and scarce and hence, these gaps need to be addressed by future research. The present holistic assessment of As originating from geothermal features and volcanic emissions would be a driving force to formulate a plan for establishing a sustainable As mitigation in vulnerable areas of Latin America in the near future. An assessment of the geochemistry, mobility and distribution of As would augment the effectiveness of the plan.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 July 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 July 2013 -)
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2020 04:43
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2020 00:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: geothermal systems; volcanic emissions; geogenic contaminants; environmental impacts; water resources
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920405 Environmental Health
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135564
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/38010

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