Urinary Arsenic Speciation in Children and Pregnant Women from Spain

Antonio J. Signes-Pastor*, Manus Carey, Jesus Vioque, Eva M. Navarrete-Muñoz, Cristina Rodríguez-Dehli, Adonina Tardón, Miren Begoña-Zubero, Loreto Santa-Marina, Martine Vrijheid, Maribel Casas, Sabrina Llop, Sandra Gonzalez-Palacios, Andrew A. Meharg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
193 Downloads (Pure)


Inorganic arsenic (i-As) is a non-threshold human carcinogen that has been associated with several adverse health outcomes. Exposure to i-As is of particular concern among pregnant women, infants and children, as they are specifically vulnerable to the adverse health effects of i-As, and in utero and early-life exposure, even low to moderate levels of i-As, may have a marked effect throughout the lifespan. Ion chromatography-mass spectrometry detection (IC-ICP-MS) was used to analyse urinary arsenic speciation, as an exposure biomarker, in samples of 4-year-old children with relatively low-level arsenic exposure living in different regions in Spain including Asturias, Gipuzkoa, Sabadell and Valencia. The profile of arsenic metabolites in urine was also determined in samples taken during pregnancy (1st trimester) and in the children from Valencia of 7 years old. The median of the main arsenic species found in the 4-year-old children was 9.71 μg/l (arsenobetaine—AsB), 3.97 μg/l (dimethylarsinic acid—DMA), 0.44 μg/l (monomethylarsonic acid—MMA) and 0.35 μg/l (i-As). Statistically significant differences were found in urinary AsB, MMA and i-As according to the study regions in the 4-year-old, and also in DMA among pregnant women and their children. Spearman’s correlation coefficient among urinary arsenic metabolites was calculated, and, in general, a strong methylation capacity to methylate i-As to MMA was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalExposure and Health
Early online date12 Aug 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Aug 2016


  • Arsenic speciation
  • Biomarker
  • Children
  • Inorganic arsenic
  • Pregnant women
  • Urinary metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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