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Chemosphere. 2003 Sep;52(9):1353-9.

A global health problem caused by arsenic from natural sources.

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National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland, 39 Kessels Road, Coopers Plains, Brisbane, Queensland 4108, Australia.


Arsenic is a carcinogen to both humans and animals. Arsenicals have been associated with cancers of the skin, lung, and bladder. Clinical manifestations of chronic arsenic poisoning include non-cancer end point of hyper- and hypo-pigmentation, keratosis, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Epidemiological evidence indicates that arsenic concentration exceeding 50 microg l(-1) in the drinking water is not public health protective. The current WHO recommended guideline value for arsenic in drinking water is 10 microg l(-1), whereas many developing countries are still having a value of 50 microg l(-1). It has been estimated that tens of millions of people are at risk exposing to excessive levels of arsenic from both contaminated water and arsenic-bearing coal from natural sources. The global health implication and possible intervention strategies were also discussed in this review article.

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