Arsenic exposure from food exceeds that from drinking water in endemic area of Bihar, India

Mondal, D ORCID:, Rahman, MM, Suman, S, Sharma, P, Siddique, AB, Rahman, A, Fazle Bari, ASM, Kumar, R, Bose, N, Kumar Singh, S, Ghosh, A and Polya, DA 2021, 'Arsenic exposure from food exceeds that from drinking water in endemic area of Bihar, India' , Science of the Total Environment, 754 , p. 142082.

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Extensive evidence of elevated arsenic (As) in the food-chain, mainly rice, wheat and vegetables exists. Nevertheless, the importance of exposure from food towards total As exposure and associated health risks in areas with natural occurring As in drinking water is still often neglected, and accordingly mitigations are largely focused on drinking water only. In this study, the contribution of food over drinking water to overall As exposure was estimated for As exposed populations in Bihar, India. Increased lifetime cancer risk was predicted using probabilistic methods with input parameters based on detailed dietary assessment and estimation of As in drinking water, cooked rice, wheat flour and potato collected from 91 households covering 19 villages. Median total exposure was 0.83 μg/kgBW/day (5th and 95th percentiles were 0.21 and 11.1 μg/kgBW/day) and contribution of food (median = 49%) to overall exposure was almost equal to that from drinking water (median = 51%). More importantly and contrary to previous studies, food was found to contribute more than drinking water to As exposure, even when drinking water As was above the WHO provisional guide value of 10 μg/L. Median and 95th percentile excess lifetime cancer risks from food intake were 1.89 x 10-4 and 7.32 x 10-4 respectively when drinking water As was below 10 µg/L and 4.00 x 10-4 and 1.83 x 10-3 respectively when drinking water As was above 10 µg/L. Our results emphasise the importance of food related exposure in As-endemic areas, and, perhaps surprisingly, particularly in areas with high As concentrations in drinking water – this being partly ascribed to increases in food As due to cooking in high As water. These findings are timely to stress the importance of removing As from the food chain and not just drinking water in endemic areas.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Science of the Total Environment
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0048-9697
Related URLs:
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), British Council in UK and Department of Science and Technology in India
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 07:01
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 05:29

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