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Arsenic geochemistry and health

Arsenic occurs naturally in the earth's crust and is widely distributed in the environment. Natural mineralization and activities of microorganisms enhance arsenic mobilization in the environment but human intervention has exacerbated arsenic contamination. Although arsenic is useful for industrial, agricultural, medicinal and other purposes, it exerts a toxic effect in a variety of organisms, including humans. Arsenic exposure may not only affect and disable organs of the body, especially the skin, but may also interfere with the proper functioning of the immune system. This paper, therefore, generally highlights the toxic effects of arsenic as well as its mobilization in the natural environment and possible controls. It also briefly attempts to outline the impact of arsenic on the immune system, whose alteration could lead to viral/bacterial infections.

Published on 10-20-2008
Authors: Alfred A. Duker, , E.J.M. Carranza and Martin Hale
Source: Environment International Volume 31, Issue 5, July 2005, Pages 631-641