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J Hazard Mater. 2018 Jul 5;353:261-270. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.03.037. Epub 2018 Mar 29.

Low arsenic bioaccessibility by fixation in nanostructured iron (Hydr)oxides: Quantitative identification of As-bearing phases.

Author information

1
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 31270901, MG, Brazil; National Institute of Science and Technology on Minerals Resources, Water and Biodiversity, INCT-Acqua, Brazil. Electronic address: ciminelli@demet.ufmg.br.
2
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 31270901, MG, Brazil.
3
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 31270901, MG, Brazil; National Institute of Science and Technology on Minerals Resources, Water and Biodiversity, INCT-Acqua, Brazil.
4
Centro de Inovação e Tecnologia SENAI FIEMG - CITSF / Campus CETEC, Belo Horizonte, 31035536, MG, Brazil.
5
National Institute of Science and Technology on Minerals Resources, Water and Biodiversity, INCT-Acqua, Brazil; The University of Queensland, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, St Lucia, 4072, Australia.
6
National Institute of Science and Technology on Minerals Resources, Water and Biodiversity, INCT-Acqua, Brazil; The University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), Brisbane, 4108, Australia.

Abstract

A new analytical protocol was developed to provide quantitative, single-particle identification of arsenic in heterogeneous nanoscale mineral phases in soil samples, with a view to establishing its potential risk to human health. Microscopic techniques enabled quantitative, single-particle identification of As-bearing phases in twenty soil samples collected in a gold mining district with arsenic concentrations in range of 8 to 6354 mg kg-1. Arsenic is primarily observed in association with iron (hydr) oxides in fine intergrowth with phyllosilicates. Only small quantities of arsenopyrite and ferric arsenate (likely scorodite) particles, common in the local gold mineralization, were identified (e.g., 7 and 9 out, respectively, of app. 74,000 particles analyzed). Within the high-arsenic subgroup, the arsenic concentrations in the particle size fraction below 250μm ranges from 211 to 4304 mg kg-1. The bioaccessible arsenic in the same size fraction is within 0.86-22 mg kg-1 (0.3-5.0%). Arsenic is trapped in oriented aggregates of crystalline iron (hydr)oxides nanoparticles, and this mechanism accounts for the low As bioaccessibility. The calculated As exposure from soil ingestion is less than 10% of the arsenic Benchmark Dose Lower Limit - BMDL0.5. Therefore, the health risk associated with the ingestion of this geogenic material is considered to be low.

KEYWORDS:

Arsenic fixation in soil; Gastric bioaccessibility; Health-risk assessment; Nanostructured iron oxy-hydroxides; Quantitative mineralogy

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