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Expo Health. 2017;9(2):105-111. doi: 10.1007/s12403-016-0225-7. Epub 2016 Aug 12.

Urinary Arsenic Speciation in Children and Pregnant Women from Spain.

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Institute for Global Food Security, Queen's University Belfast, David Keir Building, Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 5BN Northern Ireland, UK.
Universidad Miguel Hernández, Avenida de Alicante KM 87, 03550 Sant Joan d'Alacant, Spain.
Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.
Servicio de Pediatría Hospital San Agustín, Asturias, Avilés, Spain.
University of the Basque Country, Bizkaia, Spain.
Public Health Department, Basque Goverment, Biodonostia Research Institute, San Sebastian, Spain.
ISGlobal, Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain.
University Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain.
FISABIO-Universitat deValència-Universitat Jaume I Joint Research Unit of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Valencia, Spain.


Inorganic arsenic (i-As) is a non-threshold human carcinogen that has been associated with several adverse health outcomes. Exposure to i-As is of particular concern among pregnant women, infants and children, as they are specifically vulnerable to the adverse health effects of i-As, and in utero and early-life exposure, even low to moderate levels of i-As, may have a marked effect throughout the lifespan. Ion chromatography-mass spectrometry detection (IC-ICP-MS) was used to analyse urinary arsenic speciation, as an exposure biomarker, in samples of 4-year-old children with relatively low-level arsenic exposure living in different regions in Spain including Asturias, Gipuzkoa, Sabadell and Valencia. The profile of arsenic metabolites in urine was also determined in samples taken during pregnancy (1st trimester) and in the children from Valencia of 7 years old. The median of the main arsenic species found in the 4-year-old children was 9.71 μg/l (arsenobetaine-AsB), 3.97 μg/l (dimethylarsinic acid-DMA), 0.44 μg/l (monomethylarsonic acid-MMA) and 0.35 μg/l (i-As). Statistically significant differences were found in urinary AsB, MMA and i-As according to the study regions in the 4-year-old, and also in DMA among pregnant women and their children. Spearman's correlation coefficient among urinary arsenic metabolites was calculated, and, in general, a strong methylation capacity to methylate i-As to MMA was observed.


Arsenic speciation; Biomarker; Children; Inorganic arsenic; Pregnant women; Urinary metabolites

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