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Environ Pollut. 2013 Jan;172:149-54. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2012.09.009. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Arsenic speciation in Chinese Herbal Medicines and human health implication for inorganic arsenic.

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  • 1College of Resources and Environmental Science, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, 2596 Lekainan Street, Hebei Province 071000, China.


Rice and drinking water are recognized as the dominant sources of arsenic (As) for human intake, while little is known about As accumulation and speciation in Chinese Herbal Medicines (CHMs), which have been available for many hundreds of years for the treatment of diseases in both eastern and western cultures. Inorganic arsenic was the predominant species in all of CHMs samples. The levels of inorganic arsenic in CHMs from fields and markets or pharmacies ranged from 63 to 550 ng/g with a mean of 208 ng/g and 94 to 8683 ng/g with a mean of 1092 ng/g, respectively. The highest concentration was found in the Chrysanthemum from pharmacies. It indicates that the risk of inorganic As in CHMs to human health is higher in medicines from markets or pharmacies than that collected directly from fields. Some CHMs may make a considerable contribution to the human intake of inorganic arsenic.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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