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Issue 12, 2012
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Arsenic speciation of geothermal waters in New Zealand

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Total arsenic and four arsenic species; arsenite (iAsIII), arsenate (iAsV), dimethylarsinic acid (DMAV) and monomethylarsonic acid (MAV), are reported in 28 geothermal features from the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) and Waikato region of New Zealand. Samples were collected for arsenic speciation analysis via a solid phase extraction (SPE) kit allowing the separation, stabilisation and pre-concentration of the species at the time of sample collection in the field. This is the first research to present data for arsenic species collected by this technique in geothermal waters from New Zealand. Total arsenic concentrations, determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), ranged from 0.008 to 9.08 mg l−1 As. The highest levels were discovered in three features in Tokaanu (Taumatapuhipuhi, Takarea #5 and #6), with arsenic concentrations of 8.59, 8.70 and 9.08 mg l−1 As, respectively. Inorganic arsenic species were predominant in the geothermal waters, with arsenite contributing to more than 70% of the total arsenic in the majority of samples. Organic species were also determined in all samples, indicating the presence of microbial activity. A potential risk to human health was highlighted due to the high levels of arsenic, mainly as arsenite, in geothermal features linked to bathing pools. Further research is needed into dermal absorption as a potential route of arsenic exposure whilst bathing in these hot pools, as it may contribute to an occurrence of acute arsenic-related health problems.

Graphical abstract: Arsenic speciation of geothermal waters in New Zealand

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Article information

15 Jun 2012
22 Oct 2012
First published
12 Nov 2012

J. Environ. Monit., 2012,14, 3192-3201
Article type

Arsenic speciation of geothermal waters in New Zealand

G. Lord, N. Kim and N. I. Ward, J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 3192
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30486D

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