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8-1-2018

ARSENIC

Franklin Ormaza Ph. D Rommel J. Caiza Quinga


PROFESOR ESTUDIANTE
Contenido
INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................... 1
ARSENIC SOURCES ......................................................................................................................... 1
NATURAL SOURCE ..................................................................................................................... 1
ANTHROPOGENIC SOURCE ...................................................................................................... 1
TYPICAL CONCENTRATION OF ARSENIC ................................................................................. 2
ARSENIC CYCLE.............................................................................................................................. 2
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT BY THE ARSENIC ......................................................................... 3
ARSENIC IN THE WATER........................................................................................................... 3
DISEASES CAUSED BY THE HUMAN BEING ......................................................................... 4
PERSONAL OPINION ....................................................................................................................... 4
REFERENCE ...................................................................................................................................... 5
ROMMEL JAVIER CAIZA QUINGA ARSÉNICO

INTRODUCTION

Arsenic is a natural chemical element, which is distributed throughout the earth's crust and
which is rarely found naturally in the solid state. Arsenic in plants or animals when combined
with carbon or hydrogen form organic compounds, while in the environment, when combined
with oxygen, chlorine or sulfur, they form inorganic compounds, the latter being the one that
represents a major threat to public health. Prolonged exposure to high levels of inorganic
arsenic can cause different types of chronic intoxication in humans, from skin lesions to
different types of cancer.(OMS, 2016)
One of the biggest problems that arsenic presents for public health is when it is found in
groundwater intended for human consumption, irrigation of crops, etc. It is for this reason
that this document presents the different sources of arsenic, its cycle and the typical
concentrations that make it easier for us to understand the behavior and the effects it can
cause on the human being and the different terrestrial and marine species.

ARSENIC SOURCES

Arsenic (As) is a highly toxic chemical element, not only for humans, but for almost all living
organisms on Earth. This is due to its ability to deceive the cells and pass itself off as
phosphorus, one of the six essential elements for life. This is how arsenic affects the
production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the fuel that keeps all cellular
metabolism. (Castro, 2014)
Arsenic is found naturally in the soil in very diverse forms that depend on the rocks and
sediments that contain them, this mineralogical form is presented because of the geochemical
evolution experienced by arsenic minerals in geological processes. In greater proportion,
arsenic is incorporated from the ground to underground water tanks through a complex water-
soil interaction. Arsenic is also present in foods, fruits, vegetables, fats or fish, mostly in its
inorganic form, which is not toxic for humans. (Avila, 2016)
Sources of arsenic can be divided in (Segovia, 2015):
NATURAL SOURCE
 Geological material such as rocks and minerals.
 Aquifer systems (surface and underground).
 Geothermal processes.
ANTHROPOGENIC SOURCE
 Herbicides (substances used to eradicate weeds)
 Industrial processes (Glass manufacturing)
 Chemical substances to kill algae
 Carboelectric power stations.

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 Hardening of metal alloys


 Industrial gas purification (sulfur removal)

TYPICAL CONCENTRATION OF ARSENIC

The concentration of arsenic in the soil varies widely, generally between approximately 1
and 40 parts of arsenic per million parts of soil (ppm) with an average of 3 to 4 ppm.
However, soils near arsenic-rich geologic deposits, near some mines and smelters, or in
agricultural areas where arsenic pesticides were used in the past, may have much higher
arsenic levels. Generally, the concentration of arsenic in surface or groundwater is
approximately 1 part of arsenic per billion parts of water (1 ppb), but may exceed 1,000 ppb
in mining areas or where arsenic levels in the soil are naturally high. Generally, groundwater
contains arsenic levels higher than surface water. Studies of drinking water in the United
States indicate that about 80% of water supplies have less than 2 ppb of arsenic, but 2% of
supplies exceed 20 ppb. Arsenic levels in foods vary between 20 and 140 ppb. However, the
levels of inorganic arsenic, the form that generates most concern, are much lower. Arsenic
levels in the air generally range from less than 1 nanogram (1 nanogram is one trillionth of 1
gram) to about 2,000 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter of air (less than 1 to 2,000 ng /
m³), depending on the locality, the climatic conditions and the level of industrial activity in
the area. However, arsenic levels in urban areas generally vary between 20 and 30 ng / m³.
(ATSDR, 2017)

ARSENIC CYCLE.

Ilustración 1 Diagrama del ciclo biogeoquímico del arsénico, donde: V volátiles, Am actividad microbiana, LL lluvia, DS
deposición seca, AD adsorción-desorción, PD precipitación-disolución, OR oxido-reducción, DT descarga transporte.
Fuente: Pérez, 2015.

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The concentration of As depends on several geological and meteorological factors, where its
transport depends on the nature of the medium and can be mobilized in a gaseous, dissolved
or solid state through soil, air or water. The transport and distribution of arsenic depend
fundamentally on the chemical form under which it is found. In this way, the solubility of As
is relatively high, so that these species are easily distributed in aqueous media. (Perez, 2015).
Figure 1 shows a simplified diagram of the biogeochemical cycle of arsenic, where you can
see the different interrelations between sources, emissions, movements, distribution and
deposit.
Human activity has modified the global arsenic cycle enriching the soils with 660108 g / year
and oceans with 566108 g / year, the atmosphere does not represent losses or gains of arsenic,
so much so that the volatile forms of As emitted to the Atmosphere are dissolved for
rainwater. (CSEM, 2009)

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT BY THE ARSENIC

ARSENIC IN THE WATER

According to the report presented by David Castro in 2014, it reveals that exposure levels
greater than 0.05 mg of arsenic per liter of drinking water are associated with an increased
risk of lung, bladder and skin cancer, neurological and cardiovascular injuries, neurological
and motor problems, among others.

Ilustración 2 Esquema del destino del arsénico en el ambiente. Fuente: Segovia,2018

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The contamination of water with arsenic can occur due to natural causes, since it is a very
common element in the environment; or because of some human activities such as mining,
which can increase their concentration in rivers that pass or originate near their area of
intervention. According to WHO standards, arsenic levels in drinking water should not
exceed 0.01 mg per liter.

Tabla 1 Fuentes de arsénico y su impacto ambiental. Fuente: Segovia,2015

Fuente de arsénico Contaminación ambiental


Pozos artesianos en acuíferos contaminados
Agua potable
geológicamente.
Minerales Agua potable y suelo
Erosión de tierras, desechos de minas y molinos,
materiales con arsénico que son trasportados por Agua potable y suelo
la lluvia

DISEASES CAUSED BY THE HUMAN BEING

Exposure to high concentrations of arsenic produces in the human being several health effects
among these:
 Irritation of the stomach and intestine
 Decrease in red and white blood cells
 Irritation of the lungs
 Changes in the skin
 Diabetes-mellutis
The consumption of high amounts of arsenic is also associated with cases of cancer of the
skin, bladder, liver, lungs and kidney.

PERSONAL OPINION

Arsenic is one of the most polluting elements on Earth, causing various health complications
in humans and almost all living species, it is essential to know the sources of As and how
these can affect the natural resources on which the human being depends, an extreme case of
contamination occurs when this pollutes the reservoirs of water are superficial or
underground, exposing in large quantities concentrations of inorganic arsenic to different
populations. That is why education on this subject is essential to ensure that sanitation
interventions ensure good results.

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REFERENCE

ATSDR. (2017). Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y Registro de Enfermedades. Obtenido de


https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/es/phs/es_phs2.html
Avila. (Enero de 2016). Obtenido de http://www.avila-rural.com/wp-
content/uploads/2015/12/Arsenico_Agua_Consumo_Humano.pdf
Castro, D. (Mayo de 2014). El Comercio. Obtenido de
https://elcomercio.pe/blog/expresiongenetica/2014/09/niveles-arsenico-agua-potable
CSEM. (2009). Obtenido de https://www.monografias.com/docs/Ciclo-del-arsenico-
PKZM8NAYMZ
OMS. (Junio de 2016). Organización Mundial de la Salud. Obtenido de
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs372/es/
Perez, I. (Junio de 2015). Ecotoxicología del arsénico en suelos de la comunidad de Madrid.
Madrid: Departamento de Edafología.
Segovia, M. (Mayo de 2015). SlideShare. Obtenido de
https://es.slideshare.net/marianitasegovia2/arsenico-causa-efectos-contaminacin-ambiental-
vas-de-ingreso-al-organismo-medidas-de-mitigacion