Background: Arsenic is a carcinogenic heavy metal that has a species-dependent health effects and abandoned metal mines are a source of significant arsenic exposure. Therefore, the aims of this study were to analyze urinary arsenic species and their concentration in residents living near abandoned metal mines and to monitor the environmental health effects of abandoned metal mines in Korea. Methods: This study was performed in 2014 to assess urinary arsenic excretion patterns of residents living near abandoned metal mines in South Korea. Demographic data such as gender, age, mine working history, period of residency, dietary patterns, smoking and alcohol use, and type of potable water consumed were obtaining using a questionnaire. Informed consent was also obtained from all study subjects (n = 119). Urinary arsenic species were quantified using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP/MS). Results: The geometric mean of urinary arsenic (sum of dimethylarsinic acid, monomethylarsonic acid, As3+, and As5+) concentration was determined to be 131.98 μg/L (geometric mean; 95% CI, 116.72-149.23) while urinary inorganic arsenic (As3+ and As5+) concentration was 0.81 μg/L (95% CI, 0.53-1.23). 66.3% (n = 79) and 21.8% (n = 26) of these samples exceeded ATSDR reference values for urinary arsenic (>100 μg/L) and inorganic arsenic (>10 μg/L), respectively. Mean urinary arsenic concentrations (geometric mean, GM) were higher in women then in men, and increased with age. Of the five regions evaluated, while four regions had inorganic arsenic concentrations less than 0. 40 μg/L, one region showed a significantly higher concentration (GM 15.48 μg/L; 95% CI, 7.51-31.91) which investigates further studies to identify etiological factors. Conclusion: We propose that the observed elevation in urinary arsenic concentration in residents living near abandoned metal mines may be due to environmental contamination from the abandoned metal mine. Trial registration: Not Applicable (We do not have health care intervention on human participants).
- Abandoned metal mine
- Arsenic species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health