Children exposure to inorganic and organic arsenic metabolites: A cohort study in Northeast Italy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to provide urinary levels of total arsenic (TAs) and As species as arsenobetaine (AsB), arsenocholine (AsC), inorganic As (i.e., [As(III)+As(V)]), methylarsonic acid (MMA) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) in 7 year-old-children (n = 200) enrolled in the Northern Adriatic Cohort II (NACII), a prospective cohort in a coastal area of Northeast Italy. TAs was determined by sector field-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SF-ICP-MS) and AsB, AsC, As(III), As(V), MMA and DMA by ion chromatography coupled to ICP-MS (IC-ICP-MS). The geometric mean (GM) for TAs was 12.9 μg/L and for [iAs + MMA + DMA] was 4.26 μg/L. The species AsB (GM of 5.09 μg/L) and DMA (GM of 3.20 μg/L) had the greatest percentage contribution to TAs levels; a greater percentage contribution from AsB is seen at TAs >10 μg/L and from DMA at TAs <10 μg/L. Urinary [iAs + MMA] levels were positively associated with [iAs + MMA + DMA] and DMA with AsB levels. Fish, shellfish and crustaceans consumption increased the AsB and TAs levels, while rice intake, mothers’ education level and selenium (Se) concentration influenced the DMA concentration. Children have a high capacity to metabolize and detoxify the iAs because of the higher secondary methylation index (ratio DMA/MMA) with respect to primary methylation index (ratio MMA/iAs). In addition, the median level of [iAs + MMA + DMA] in the whole population of children was lower than the Biomonitoring Equivalent (BE) value for non-cancer endpoints. Also the Margin of Safety (MOS) value based on the population median was greater than 1, thus the exposure to the toxicologically relevant As species was not likely to be of concern. Children exposure to arsenic species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114826
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Arsenic species
  • Children
  • Health based guidance values (HBGVs)
  • Human biomonitoring
  • Reference values (RVs)
  • Total arsenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Children exposure to inorganic and organic arsenic metabolites: A cohort study in Northeast Italy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this