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Environ Pollut. 2013 Nov;182:111-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.07.002. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Assessing mixed trace elements in groundwater and their health risk of residents living in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia.

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School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea; Resource Development International-Cambodia, Kean Svay, Kandal, P.O. Box 494, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Electronic address:


We investigated the potential contamination of trace elements in shallow Cambodian groundwater. Groundwater and hair samples were collected from three provinces in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia and analyzed by ICP-MS. Groundwater from Kandal (n = 46) and Kraite (n = 12) were enriched in As, Mn, Ba and Fe whereas none of tube wells in Kampong Cham (n = 18) had trace elements higher than Cambodian permissible limits. Risk computations indicated that 98.7% and 12.4% of residents in the study areas of Kandal (n = 297) and Kratie (n = 89) were at risk of non-carcinogenic effects from exposure to multiple elements, yet none were at risk in Kampong Cham (n = 184). Arsenic contributed 99.5%, 60.3% and 84.2% of the aggregate risk in Kandal, Kratie and Kampong Cham, respectively. Sustainable and appropriate treatment technologies must therefore be implemented in order for Cambodian groundwater to be used as potable water.


Cambodia; Groundwater; Human hair; Risk assessment; The Mekong River basin; Trace element

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