Arsenic concentrations in hair and urine, and urinary levels of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker of oxidative DNA damage, were examined for inhabitants of the Mekong Basin in Kratie Province, Cambodia. Also, the arsenic levels of tube-well water were determined. Total arsenic concentrations in tube-well water ranged from <1 to 886 μg L−1, and 44.8% of these exceeded the WHO drinking water guideline of 10 μg L−1. Elevated levels of arsenic were observed in the human hair and urine, and also a significant positive correlation was observed between the concentrations in hair and urine. These results suggest that the inhabitants are chronically exposed to arsenic through drinking the tube-well water. Levels of urinary 8-OHdG were higher for the subjects with higher arsenic levels in hair and urine, suggesting that induction of oxidative DNA damage was caused by chronic exposure to arsenic in tube-well water for the inhabitants in Kratie Province. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the oxidative DNA damage caused by chronic exposure to arsenic in groundwater for the inhabitants in Cambodia.
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