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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2012;75(22-23):1437-50. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2012.721178.

Environmental risk assessment of arsenic and fluoride in the Chaco Province, Argentina: research advances.

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Departamento Química Analítica, Universidad Nacional del Chaco Austral, Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, Chaco, Argentina.


The arsenic (As) and fluoride (F⁻) concentration in groundwater and potential adverse human health risk was investigated in the Central-West Region of the Chaco Province, northern Argentina. The mean concentration of As in shallow groundwater was 95 μg/L, where 76% of samples exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline value of 10 μg/L, while in deep groundwater it was 90 μg/L, where 63% samples exceeded 10 μg/L. For As health risk assessment, the average daily dose, hazard quotient (HQ), and cancer risk were calculated. The values of HQ were found to be >1 in 77% of samples. This level of contamination is considered to constitute a high chronic risk compared with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. Further, a significant portion of the population has lifetime carcinogenic risk >10⁻⁴ and may suffer from cancer. A positive correlation was observed between As and F⁻ in groundwater. The Código Alimentario Argentino (CAA) suggested a limit of F⁻ in drinking water as low as 0.8 mg/L under tropical environmental conditions; however, in shallow (39%) and deep groundwater (32%), samples exceeded these values. Exposure to F⁻ was calculated and compared with the adequate intake of minimal safe level exposure dose of 0.05 mg/kg/d and it was noted that 42% of population may be at high risk of fluorosis. Chronic exposure to high As and F⁻ levels in this population represents a concern due to possible adverse health effects attributed to these elements.

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