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Environ Health Perspect. 1999 August; 107(8): 663–667.
PMCID: PMC1566491
Research Article

Excretion of arsenic in urine as a function of exposure to arsenic in drinking water.


Urinary arsenic (As) concentrations were evaluated as a biomarker of exposure in a U.S. population chronically exposed to inorganic As (InAs) in their drinking water. Ninety-six individuals who consumed drinking water with As concentrations of 8-620 microg/L provided first morning urine voids for up to 5 consecutive days. The study population was 56% male, and 44% was younger than 18 years of age. On one day of the study period, all voided urines were collected over a 24-hr period. Arsenic intake from drinking water was estimated from daily food diaries. Comparison between the concentration of As in individual urine voids with that in the 24-hr urine collection indicated that the concentration of As in urine was stable throughout the day. Comparison of the concentration of As in each first morning urine void over the 5-day study period indicated that there was little day-to-day variation in the concentration of As in urine. The concentration of As in drinking water was a better predictor of the concentration of As in urine than was the estimated intake of As from drinking water. The concentration of As in urine did not vary by gender. An age-dependent difference in the concentration of As in urine may be attributed to the higher As dosage rate per unit body weight in children than in adults. These findings suggest that the analysis of a small number of urine samples may be adequate to estimate an individual's exposure to InAs from drinking water and that the determination of the concentration of InAs in a drinking water supply may be a useful surrogate for estimating exposure to this metalloid.

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Selected References

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