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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12371-12390; doi:10.3390/ijerph121012371

Unraveling Health Risk and Speciation of Arsenic from Groundwater in Rural Areas of Punjab, Pakistan

1
Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan
2
Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University, Lismore 2480, NSW, Australia
3
Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR), Mawson Lakes Campus, University of South Australia, SA 5095, Australia
4
Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER), Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
5
Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), P.O. Box 486, Salisbury South, SA 5106, Australia
6
Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Vehari 61100, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 19 August 2015 / Revised: 19 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 5 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arsenic in Drinking Water: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Abstract

This study determined the total and speciated arsenic (As) concentrations and other health-related water quality parameters for unraveling the health risk of As from drinking water to humans. Groundwater samples (n = 62) were collected from three previously unexplored rural areas (Chichawatni, Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan) of Punjab in Pakistan. The mean and median As concentrations in groundwater were 37.9 and 12.7 µg·L−1 (range = 1.5–201 µg·L−1). Fifty three percent groundwater samples showed higher As value than WHO safe limit of 10 µg·L−1. Speciation of As in groundwater samples (n = 13) showed the presence of inorganic As only; arsenite (As(III)) constituted 13%–67% of total As and arsenate (As(V)) ranged from 33% to 100%. For As health risk assessment, the hazard quotient and cancer risk values were 11–18 and 46–600 times higher than the recommended values of US-EPA (i.e., 1.00 and 10−6, respectively). In addition to As, various water quality parameters (e.g., electrical conductivity, Na, Ca, Cl, NO3, SO42−, Fe, Mn, Pb) also enhanced the health risk. The results show that consumption of As-contaminated groundwater poses an emerging health threat to the communities in the study area, and hence needs urgent remedial and management measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; groundwater; speciation; health risk; cancer; contamination; toxicity arsenic; groundwater; speciation; health risk; cancer; contamination; toxicity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shakoor, M.B.; Niazi, N.K.; Bibi, I.; Rahman, M.M.; Naidu, R.; Dong, Z.; Shahid, M.; Arshad, M. Unraveling Health Risk and Speciation of Arsenic from Groundwater in Rural Areas of Punjab, Pakistan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 12371-12390.

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