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SPECIATION OF ARSENIC

Objective



Arsenic is an element of which the various forms (species) have a widely differing toxicity. Inorganic As (III) is highly toxic, e.g. amounts 0.15-0.3 g are acutely lethal to humans whereas As (V) is less toxic and organic arsenic compounds such as arsenobetaine and choline have no effect on the human body. Therefore it is of paramount importance to determine the form and binding in which the arsenic is present ("speciation") before concluding on the hazard of disposal or of removing an arsenic-contaminated food from the market. As2O3 is used as herbicide, pesticide, fungicide and desinfecting agent in sheep growing; Na-arsenite is still in use to disinfect soils. As2O5 is used in the cotton industry and to protect wood. In view of the different toxicological behaviour of various As containing compounds and their different toxicity it is necessary to determine the speciation rather than the total contents. This holds especially for fish intended for human consumption; high contents of As are tolerable if all arsenic is in the form of arsenobetaine. The fate of arsenic-containing herbicides and pesticides in the environment and the conversion of these compounds is of particular interest to the herbicide-industry but requires the development of suitable speciation methodology. The programme will include the methodologies for the determination of:
As(V) and As(III); mono and dimethylarsenic acids and salts; arsenocholine and arsenobetaine
Then the study will continue with the extraction from real samples (mussel tissue, fish, soil, sediments). It is intended to certify up to 4 materials.

STATUS

Four intercomparisons on solutions of As compounds have been conducted.

Coordinator

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
Address
Chemin Du Canal
69390 Vernaison
France

Participants (13)

Ecole Europeenne des Hautes Etudes
France
Address

Strasbourg
Head of the Unit of Foodborne Zoonoses and Veterinary Epidemiology
Italy
Address
Viale Regina Elena 299
00161 Rome
Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER)
France
Address
Station De Nantes Rue De L'ile D'yeu
44037 Nantes
Institut Pasteur de Lille
France
Address
1 Rue Du Professeur Albert Calmette
59019 Lille
Ministry of the Environment
Denmark
Address

Soburg
National Techn. Univ. Athens
Greece
Rijkswaterstaat
Netherlands
Address

Haren
SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
Address
Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Howard S
S1 1WB Sheffield
School of Analytical Sciences
Ireland
Address

Dublin
The State Lab.
Ireland
Address

Dublin
UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
United Kingdom
Address
University Road
Leicester
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
United Kingdom
Address
Southampton Ocenagraphic Centre, European Way
SO14 3ZH Southampton
Univ. de Barcelona
Spain