Main content area

Use of lanthanum for water treatment A matter of concern?

Behets, Geert J., Mubiana, Kayawe Valentine, Lamberts, Ludwig, Finsterle, Karin, Traill, Nigel, Blust, Ronny, D'Haese, Patrick C.
Chemosphere 2020 v.239 pp. 124780
bentonite, blood serum, brain, carbonates, chlorides, clay, cross contamination, eutrophication, heart, hepatotoxicity, intestinal absorption, kidneys, lanthanum, liver, lungs, rats, spleen, testes, therapeutics, tissue distribution, tissues, water treatment
Among several other eutrophication management tools, Phoslock®, a lanthanum modified bentonite (LMB) clay, is now frequently used. Concerns have been raised as to whether exposure to Phoslock®-treated water may lead to lanthanum accumulation/toxicity in both animals and humans.In the present experimental study, rats were administered lanthanum orally as either lanthanum carbonate, lanthanum chloride or Phoslock® at doses of either 0.5 or 17 mg/L during 10 weeks. Controls received vehicle. The gastrointestinal absorption and tissue distribution of lanthanum was investigated. Extremely strict measures were implemented to avoid cross-contamination between different tissues or animals.Results showed no differences in gastrointestinal absorption between the different compounds under study as reflected by the serum lanthanum levels and concentrations found in the brain, bone, heart, spleen, lung, kidney and testes. At sacrifice, significant but equally increased lanthanum concentrations versus vehicle were observed in the liver for the highest dose of each compound which however, remained several orders of magnitude below the liver lanthanum concentration previously measured after long-term therapeutic administration of lanthanum carbonate and for which no hepatotoxicity was noticed in humans.In conclusion, (i) the use of LMB does not pose a toxicity risk (ii) gastrointestinal absorption of lanthanum is minimal and independent on the type of the compound, (iii) with exception of the liver, no significant increase in lanthanum levels is observed in the various organs under study, (iv) based on previous studies, the slightly increased liver lanthanum levels observed in a worst case scenario do not hold any risk of hepatotoxicity.