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Arsenic in residential soil and household dust in Cornwall, south west England: potential human exposure and the influence of historical mining

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Abstract

Exposure to arsenic (As) via residential soil and dust is a global concern, in regions affected by mining or with elevated concentrations present in underlying geology. Cornwall in south west England is one such area. Residential soil (n = 127) and household dust (n = 99) samples were collected from across Cornwall as part of a wider study assessing exposure to environmental As. Samples were analysed for total As (soil and dust samples) and human ingestion bioaccessible As (soil samples from properties with home-grown produce). Arsenic concentrations ranged from 12 to 992 mg kg−1 in soil and 3 to 1079 mg kg−1 in dust and were significantly higher in areas affected by metalliferous mineralisation. Sixty-nine percent of soils exceeded the 37 mg kg−1 Category 4 Screening Level (C4SL), a generic assessment criteria for As in residential soils in England, which assumes 100% bioavailability following ingestion. The proportion of exceedance was reduced to 13% when the bioavailability parameter in the CLEA model was changed to generate household specific bioaccessibility adjusted assessment criteria (ACBIO). These criteria were derived using bioaccessibility data for a sub-set of individual household vegetable patch soils (n = 68). Proximity to former As mining locations was found to be a significant predictor of soil As concentration. This study highlights the value of bioaccessibility measurements and their potential for adjusting generic assessment criteria.

Graphical abstract: Arsenic in residential soil and household dust in Cornwall, south west England: potential human exposure and the influence of historical mining

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Dec 2016, accepted on 23 Feb 2017, published on 01 Mar 2017 and first published online on 01 Mar 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00690F
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Advance Article
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    Arsenic in residential soil and household dust in Cornwall, south west England: potential human exposure and the influence of historical mining

    D. R. S. Middleton, M. J. Watts, D. J. Beriro, E. M. Hamilton, G. S. Leonardi, T. Fletcher, R. M. Close and D. A. Polya, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00690F

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