Arsenic drinking water exposure and urinary excretion among adults in the Yaqui Valley, Sonora, Mexico

Maria Mercedes Meza, Michael J. Kopplin, Jefferey L. Burgess, A. Jay Gandolfi

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86 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine arsenic exposure via drinking water and to characterize urinary arsenic excretion among adults in the Yaqui Valley, Sonora, Mexico. A cross-sectional study was conducted from July 2001 to May 2002. Study subjects were from the Yaqui Valley, Sonora, Mexico, residents of four towns with different arsenic concentrations in their drinking water. Arsenic exposure was estimated through water intake over 24h. Arsenic excretion was assessed in the first morning void urine. Total arsenic concentrations and their species arsenate (As V), arsenite (As III), monomethyl arsenic (MMA), and dimethyl arsenic (DMA) were determined by HPLC/ICP-MS. The town of Esperanza with the highest arsenic concentration in water had the highest daily mean intake of arsenic through drinking water, the mean value was 65.5μg/day. Positive correlation between total arsenic intake by drinking water/day and the total arsenic concentration in urine (r=0.50, P<0.001) was found. Arsenic excreted in urine ranged from 18.9 to 93.8μg/L. The people from Esperanza had the highest geometric mean value of arsenic in urine, 65.1μg/L, and it was statistically significantly different from those of the other towns (P<0.005). DMA was the major arsenic species in urine (47.7-67.1%), followed by inorganic arsenic (16.4-25.4%), and MMA (7.5-15%). In comparison with other reports the DMA and MMA distribution was low, 47.7-55.6% and 7.5-9.7%, respectively, in the urine from the Yaqui Valley population (except the town of Cocorit). The difference in the proportion of urinary arsenic metabolites in those towns may be due to genetic polymorphisms in the As methylating enzymes of these populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Arsenic
  • Arsenic drinking water
  • Sonora
  • Urinary arsenic
  • Yaqui Valley

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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