What is the best biomarker to assess arsenic exposure via drinking water?
The extent of exposure of residents of Changqing (Guizhou, PR China) to arsenic through coal-burning was investigated. Despite the low coal-arsenic content (56.3+/-42.5 mg As kg(-1)) when compared with coals collected at different location and times from the same province, more than 30% of the study subjects have shown symptoms of arsenicosis. Coal, urine, hair, and water samples were collected in mid-September 2001 and analysed for arsenic. The average urinary and hair-arsenic concentrations in the exposed subjects were 71.4+/-37.1 microg As g(-1) creatinine (control 41.6+/-12.1) and 7.99+/-8.16 mg kg(-1), respectively. A positive correlation between the hair and urinary-arsenic concentration (R(2)=0.601) was found. There was no significant difference between females and males for both urinary and hair-arsenic concentrations. Females were found to have a higher dimethylarsinic acid but lower percentages of inorganic arsenic and monomethylarsonic acid in their urine than males.