Review of analytical techniques for arsenic detection and determination in drinking water
Arsenic occurs in the natural environment in four oxidation states: As(V), As(III), As(0) and As(−III). The behavior of arsenic species changes depending on the biotic or abiotic conditions in water. In groundwater, arsenic is predominantly present as As(III) and As(V), with a minor amount of methyl and dimethyl arsenic compounds being reported. Global intake of As(III) and As(V) via drinking water and food has dramatically increased in recent years. The commonly used term inorganic arsenic includes both As(III) and As(V) species and constitutes the highest toxicological risk associated with arsenic in water compared to the organic arsenic species. Inorganic arsenic is a confirmed carcinogen and the World Health Organization (WHO) has published a guideline value for arsenic in their ‘Guidelines for drinking-water quality’ and is on the WHO list of 10 chemicals of major public health concern. Presently, approximately, 230 million people worldwide are affected by arsenic toxicity. Chronic arsenic toxicity affects multiple physiological systems and can cause serious health issues (e.g. arsenicosis, cancer etc.) leading to death. To combat arsenic pollution, the WHO and United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) have set concentration limits for arsenic in drinking water. The WHO, US-EPA and European Union (EU) have set the maximum limit of arsenic in drinking water at 10 ppb. To meet the required limit, it is essential that rapid, reliable, sensitive and cost-effective analytical detection systems be developed and put into use. Different determination methods of inorganic arsenic have been developed over the last 5–6 decades. This review provides an overview of around 170 research articles and relevant literature, mainly regarding the existing methods for analysis of As(III) and As(V) in water. Chromatographic, spectroscopic, colorimetric, biological (whole cell biosensors (WCB) and aptasensors), electroanalytical and coupled techniques are discussed. For those who are at the early stage of their research career in this field, the basic introduction and necessary concepts for various techniques is discussed followed by an evaluation of their performance towards arsenic determination. Current challenges as well as potential avenues for future research, including the demands for enhanced analytical performance, rapid analysis and on-site technologies for remote water analysis and environmental applications are discussed. We believe that this review will be beneficial, a source of information, and enhance awareness and appreciation of the role of these advanced analytical techniques in informing and protecting our environment and water resources, globally.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Environmental Science: Advances - Recent Review Articles and Water pollution and contaminants – Topic Highlight