Health Risk Assessment and Urinary Excretion of Children Exposed to Arsenic through Drinking Water and Soils in Sonora, Mexico

Leticia García-Rico, Diana Meza-Figueroa, A. Jay Gandolfi, Carlos Ibañez del Rivero, Marco A. Martínez-Cinco, Maria M. Meza-Montenegro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Environmental arsenic exposure is associated with increased risk of non-cancerous chronic diseases and a variety of cancers in humans. The aims of this study were to carry out for the first time a health risk assessment for two common arsenic exposure routes (drinking water and soil ingestion) in children living in the most important agricultural areas in the Yaqui and Mayo valleys in Sonora, Mexico. Drinking water sampling was conducted in the wells of 57 towns. A cross-sectional study was done in 306 children from 13 villages in the valleys. First morning void urine samples were analyzed for inorganic arsenic (InAs) and monomethyl and dimethyl arsenic (MMA and DMA) by HPLC/ICP-MS. The results showed a wide range of arsenic levels in drinking water between 2.7 and 98.7 μg As/L. Arsenic levels in agricultural and backyard soils were in the range of < 10–27 mg As/kg. The hazard index (HI) = ∑hazard quotient (HQ) for drinking water, agricultural soil, and backyard soil showed values > 1 in 100% of the study towns, and the carcinogenic risk (CR) was greater than 1E−04 in 85%. The average of arsenic excreted in urine was 31.7 μg As/L, and DMA had the highest proportion in urine, with averages of 77.8%, followed by InAs and MMA with 11.4 and 10.9%, respectively, percentages similar to those reported in the literature. Additionally, positive correlations between urinary arsenic levels and HI values were found (r = 0.59, P = 0.000). These results indicated that this population is at high risk of developing chronic diseases including cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Arsenic
  • Children
  • Drinking water
  • Health risk assessment
  • Soil
  • Urinary arsenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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