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Dietary Arsenic Intake in Taiwanese Districts with Elevated Arsenic in Drinking Water

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Inorganic arsenic in dietary staples ( i.e. , yams and rice) may have substantially contributed to exposure and adverse health effects observed in an endemic Taiwanese population historically exposed to arsenic in drinking water. Observations of this population were used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to derive toxicity values that form the basis for arsenic risk assessment and various regulations in the United States. However, data were previously insufficient to accurately estimate dietary intake. Rice and yam samples collected in 1993 and 1995 from Taiwanese districts with endemic arsenic were analyzed for total arsenic and for inorganic and organic mono and dimethylarsenic. The acid digestion techniques used in the analyses are among the best to preserve organic arsenic in the test sample. Furthermore, concurrent analyses of the proportion of inorganic arsenic in split samples of rice and yams collected in the 1995 investigation were in good agreement, despite using a different digestion method. These data support a likely mean dietary intake of 50 µg/day with a range of 15 to 211 µg/day. Consideration of dietary intake may result in a downward revision of the assumed potency of ingested arsenic as reflected in EPA's toxicity values.

Keywords: Taiwan; arsenic; dietary; speciation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: PTI Environmental Services, Bellevue, WA 2: Battelle Marine Sciences, Sequim, WA 3: Institut für Analytische Chemie at Karl-Franzens Universität, Graz, Austria 4: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Taiwan, R.O.C. 5: ARCO Corporation, Los Angeles, CA

Publication date: February 1, 1998


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