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Arsenic contamination in Kolkata metropolitan city: perspective of transportation of agricultural products from arsenic-endemic areas

Biswas, Anirban, Swain, Shresthashree, Chowdhury, Nilanjana Roy, Joardar, Madhurima, Das, Antara, Mukherjee, Meenakshi, Roychowdhury, Tarit
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.22 pp. 22929-22944
adults, arsenates, arsenic, arsenites, children, crops, drinking, drinking water, eating habits, exposure pathways, food intake, foods, groundwater, household surveys, humans, markets, neoplasms, nutrient intake, rice, risk, risk assessment, soil, toxicity, transportation, vegetables, water pollution
Arsenic exposure route for humans is through the drinking of contaminated water and intake of arsenic-contaminated foods, particularly in arsenic-exposed areas of Bengal delta. Transport of the arsenic-contaminated crops and vegetables grown using arsenic-contaminated groundwater and soil in arsenic-exposed areas to the uncontaminated sites and consequent dietary intakes leads to great threats for the population residing in non-endemic areas with respect to consumption of arsenic through drinking water. We have studied the food materials collected from 30 families and their dietary habits, apparently who consume arsenic-free drinking water as well as 9 well-known markets of Kolkata city. The total and inorganic arsenic intake has been estimated from the collected foodstuffs from the market basket survey (n = 93) and household survey (n = 139), respectively for human risk analysis. About 100% of the collected samples contained detectable amount of arsenic (range 24–324 μg/kg), since the origin of the food materials was somewhere from arsenic-endemic areas. The daily consumption of inorganic arsenic (iAs) from rice grain and vegetables for adult and children is 76 μg and 41.4 μg, respectively. Inorganic arsenic (mainly arsenite and arsenate) contributes approximately 88% of the total content of arsenic in vegetable. In most of the cases, insufficient nutrient intake by the studied population may lead to arsenic toxicity in the long run. An independent cancer risk assessment study on the same population indicates that the main risk of cancer might appear through the intake of arsenic-contaminated rice grain and cereals.