Arsenic chemistry in soils and sediments

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Arsenic is a naturally occurring trace element that poses a threat to human and ecosystem health, particularly when incorporated into food or water supplies. The greatest risk imposed by arsenic to human health results from contamination of drinking water, for which the World Health Organization recommends a maximum limit of 10 {micro}g L{sup -1}. Continued ingestion of drinking water having hazardous levels of arsenic can lead to arsenicosis and cancers of the bladder, skin, lungs and kidneys. Unfortunately, arsenic tainted drinking waters are a global threat and presently having a devastating impact on human health within Asia. Nearly 100 million ... continued below

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Fendorf, S.; Nico, P.; Kocar, B.D.; Masue, Y. & Tufano, K.J. October 15, 2009.

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Description

Arsenic is a naturally occurring trace element that poses a threat to human and ecosystem health, particularly when incorporated into food or water supplies. The greatest risk imposed by arsenic to human health results from contamination of drinking water, for which the World Health Organization recommends a maximum limit of 10 {micro}g L{sup -1}. Continued ingestion of drinking water having hazardous levels of arsenic can lead to arsenicosis and cancers of the bladder, skin, lungs and kidneys. Unfortunately, arsenic tainted drinking waters are a global threat and presently having a devastating impact on human health within Asia. Nearly 100 million people, for example, are presently consuming drinking water having arsenic concentrations exceeding the World Health Organization's recommended limit (Ahmed et al., 2006). Arsenic contamination of the environment often results from human activities such as mining or pesticide application, but recently natural sources of arsenic have demonstrated a devastating impact on water quality. Arsenic becomes problematic from a health perspective principally when it partitions into the aqueous rather than the solid phase. Dissolved concentrations, and the resulting mobility, of arsenic within soils and sediments are the combined result of biogeochemical processes linked to hydrologic factors. Processes favoring the partitioning of As into the aqueous phase, potentially leading to hazardous concentrations, vary extensively but can broadly be grouped into four categories: (1) ion displacement, (2) desorption (or limited sorption) at pH values > 8.5, (3) reduction of arsenate to arsenite, and (4) mineral dissolution, particularly reductive dissolution of Fe and Mn (hydr)oxides. Although various processes may liberate arsenic from solids, a transition from aerobic to anaerobic conditions, and commensurate arsenic and iron/manganese reduction, appears to be a dominant, but not exclusive, means by which high concentrations of dissolved arsenic are generated. Within the subsequent sections of this chapter, we explore and describe the biological and chemical processes that control the partitioning of arsenic between the solid and aqueous phase.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-3071E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 982839
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1013071

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • October 15, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 17, 2017, 6 p.m.

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Fendorf, S.; Nico, P.; Kocar, B.D.; Masue, Y. & Tufano, K.J. Arsenic chemistry in soils and sediments, book, October 15, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1013071/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.