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Worldwide occurrences of arsenic in ground water

July 21, 2002

Numerous aquifers worldwide carry soluble arsenic at concentrations greater than the World Health Organization--and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--recommended drinking water standard of 10 mg per liter. Sources include both natural (black shales, young sediments with low flushing rates, gold mineralization, and geothermal environments) and anthropogenic (mining activities, livestock feed additives, pesticides, and arsenic trioxide wastes and stockpiles). Increased solubility and mobility of arsenic is promoted by high pH (>8.5), competing oxyanions, and reducing conditions. In this Policy Forum, Nordstrom argues that human health risks from arsenic in ground water can be minimized by incorporating hydrogeochemical knowledge into water management decisions and by more careful monitoring for arsenic in geologically high-risk areas.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2002
Title Worldwide occurrences of arsenic in ground water
DOI 10.1126/science.1072375
Authors D. Kirk Nordstrom
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70185176
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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