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Arsenic round the world

a review

Abstract This review deals with environmental origin, occurrence, episodes, and impact on human health of arsenic. Arsenic,a metalloid occurs naturally, being the 20th most abundant element in the earths crust, and is a component of morethan 245 minerals. These are mostly ores containing sul de, along with copper, nic!el, lead, cobalt, or other metals.Arsenic and its compounds are mobile in the environment. "eathering of roc!s converts arsenic sul des to arsenictrio#ide, which enters the arsenic cycle as dust or by dissolution in rain, rivers, or groundwater. $o, groundwatercontamination by arsenic is a serious threat to man!ind all over the world. %t can also enter food chain causing wide spread distribution throughout the plant and animal !ingdoms. &owever, sh, fruits, and vegetables primarily containorganic arsenic, less than '0( of the arsenic in these foods e#ists in the inorganic form, although the arsenic content o f m a n y f o o d s ) i . e . m i l ! a n d d a i r y products, beef and por!, poultr y, and cereals* is mainly inorga nic, t yp i c a l l y +5,-5(. A few recent studies report .5,/5( inorganic arsenic in rice and vegetables, which suggest more studies for s t a n d a r d i s a t i o n . & u m a n s a r e e # p o s e d to this to#ic arsenic primarily from air, food, and water. Thousands andthousands of people are suffering from the to#ic effects of arsenicals in m a n y c o u n t r i e s a l l o v e r t h e w o r l d d u e t o natural groundwater contamination as well as industrial ef0uent and drainage problems. Arsenic, being a normalcomponent of human body is transported by the blood to different organs in the body, mainly in the form of 11Aa f t e r i n g e s t i o n . % t c a u s e s a v a r i e t y o f a d v e r s e h e a l t h e f f e c t s t o h u m a n s a f t e r a c u t e a n d c h r o n i c e # p o s u r e s s u c h a s dermal changes )pigmentation, hyper!eratoses, and ulceration*, respiratory, pulmonary, cardiovascular, gastrointesti2nal, hematological, hepatic, renal, neurological, developmental, reproductive, immunologic, genoto#ic, mutagenetic, and carcinogenic effects. 3ey research studies are needed for improving arsenic ris! assessment at low e#posure levelsurgently among all the arsenic research groups. 4 2002 5lsevier $cience 6.7. All rights reserved