Arsenic Speciation in Food and Estimation of the Dietary Intake of Inorganic Arsenic in a Rural Village of West Bengal, India

A. J. Signes-Pastor, K. Mitra, S. Sarkhel, M. Hobbes, F. Burlo, W. T. De Groot, A. A. Carbonell-Barrachina*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Arsenic (As) species were quantified by HPLC-HG-AFS in water and vegetables from a rural area of West Bengal (India). Inorganic species predominated in vegetables (including rice) and drinking water; in fact, inorganic arsenic (i-As) represented more than 80% of the total arsenic (t-As) content. To evaluate i-As intake in an arsenic affected rural village, a food survey was carried out on 129 people (69 men and 60 women). The data from the survey showed that the basic diet, of this rural population, was mainly rice and vegetables, representing more than 50% of their total daily food intake. During the periods when nonvegetarian foods (fish and meat) were scarce, the importance of rice increased, and rice alone represented more than 70% of the total daily food intake. The food analysis and the food questionnaires administrated led us to establish a daily intake of i-As of about 170 mu g i-As day(-1), which was above the tolerable daily intake of 150 mu g i-As day(-1), generally admitted. Our results clearly demonstrated that food is a very important source of i-As and that this source should never be forgotten in populations depending heavily on vegetables (mainly rice) for their diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9469-9474
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2008


  • Inorganic arsenic
  • total arsenic
  • West Bengal
  • rice
  • water

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