Measurements of Arsenic in the Urine and Nails of Individuals Exposed to Low Concentrations of Arsenic in Drinking Water From Private Wells in a Rural Region of Québec, Canada


Chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic leads to an increased risk of cancer. A biological measurement was conducted in 153 private well owners and their families consuming water contaminated by inorganic arsenic at concentrations that straddle 10 μg/L. The relationship between the external dose indicators (concentration of inorganic arsenic in wells and daily well water inorganic arsenic intake) and the internal doses (urinary arsenic—sum of AsIII, DMA, and MMA, adjusted for creatinine—and total arsenic in toenails) was evaluated using multiple linear regressions, controlling for age, gender, dietary sources of arsenic, and number of cigarettes smoked. It showed that urinary arsenic was associated with concentration of inorganic arsenic in wells (p < .001) and daily well water inorganic arsenic intake (p < .001) in adults, and with daily well water inorganic arsenic intake (p = .017) and rice consumption (p = .022) in children (n = 43). The authors’ study reinforces the drinking-water quality guidelines for inorganic arsenic.

Speaker / Author: 
Fabien Gagnon, MSc, MD, FRCPC
Éric Lampron-Goulet, MSc, MD, FRCPC
Louise Normandin, PhD
Marie-France Langlois, MD, FRCPC
Month Year: 
January 2016
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Publication Month: 
Prepublished online October 2015. Final publication January/February 2016 (78.6).
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