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J Environ Manage. 2013 Feb 15;116:10-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.11.009. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Importance of the oral arsenic bioaccessibility factor for characterising the risk associated with soil ingestion in a mining-influenced zone.

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Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Geology and Pedology, Regional Campus of International Excellence "Campus Mare Nostrum", University of Murcia, 30071 Murcia, Spain.


Arsenic is a carcinogenic metalloid and the risks of accidental ingestion should therefore be borne in mind when assessing areas with high levels of this element. In this work, the concentrations of bioaccessible As in mining-influenced soils, in SE Spain are determined. The risk posed by the accidental ingestion is studied in two soil fractions (<2mm and <250μm), taking into consideration the possible uses of the soils (residential/agricultural) and possible receptors (adults and/or children). The properties and mineralogical composition of 26 soil samples are analysed. The results showed that the use of a conservative approach to calculate the Chemical Daily Intake (CDI) based on the total concentrations of arsenic, may overestimate the risk existing in the zone, leading to problems in the management of contaminated soils. The paper emphasises the importance of considering the amount of bioaccessible As in the <250μm fraction before permitting land near temporary watercourses to be used for residential purposes, as beaches or for agriculture.

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