2013 Conference of the International Medical Geology Association (25–29 August 2013)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 12:00 PM-11:55 PM


MAÑAY, Nelly, Specialized Center of Chemical Toxicology (CEQUIMTOX), Faculty of Chemistry, University of the Republic, Gral. Flores 2124, Montevideo, 11800, Uruguay, PISTÓN, Mariela, Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Uiversity of the Republic, Gral. Flores 2124, Montevideo, 11800, Uruguay and GOSO, Cesar, Geociences Institute, Faculty of Sciences, Iguá 4225, Montevideo, 11400, Uruguay, nmanay@fq.edu.uy

Scientific research has been recently conducted in Uruguay to study the presence of geogenic arsenic (As) in groundwater and preliminary results, showed As levels above those recommended by WHO for drinking water (10 ug/L) in different aquifers of the country. For example, in Raigon aquifer, water samples showed arsenic concentrations ranged from 1,4 to 24,2 ug/L with a median of 14,2 ug/L.

Several laws and decrees regulate water sources quality and the drinking water is supplied only by a state company that is controlled by a state regulation institute, being As new recommended levels < 20 ug/dL. A systematic control of arsenic concentration in drinking water samples taken from different areas of the country, showed an increase from not detectable to quantified levels in a 6 years period.

This environmental health issue is now becoming a matter of concern with a medical geology multidisciplinary approach, as similar aims research teams and experts from geosciences and biosciences, joined to face those arsenic exposure risks problems. The aim of this work is to review those environmental and health arsenic issues in Uruguay to show the current advances in our Country.

Several multidisciplinary studies have been developed focusing on arsenic geological and toxicological aspects. For this purpose, analytical and speciation methodologies were optimized and validated, for arsenic analysis in water and urine as available tools in Uruguay. Arsenic biomonitoring and determination of urine metabolites on general population and exposed workers, are currently ongoing research studies.

We concluded that the risk of the Uruguayan population consuming this water has not yet been estimated, so it is important to continue developing feasible analytical methodologies and systematic studies with a medical geology approach, to assess population’s chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic through drinking water and its health impacts in the whole country.

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