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Assessment of occupational exposure to inorganic arsenic based on urinary concentrations and speciation of arsenic.
  1. J G Farmer,
  2. L R Johnson
  1. Department of Forensic Medicine and Science, University of Glasgow.


    An analytical speciation method, capable of separating inorganic arsenic (As (V), As (III] and its methylated metabolites (MMAA, DMAA) from common, inert, dietary organoarsenicals, was applied to the determination of arsenic in urine from a variety of workers occupationally exposed to inorganic arsenic compounds. Mean urinary arsenic (As (V) + As (III) + MMAA + DMAA) concentrations ranged from 4.4 micrograms/g creatinine for controls to less than 10 micrograms/g for those in the electronics industry, 47.9 micrograms/g for timber treatment workers applying arsenical wood preservatives, 79.4 micrograms/g for a group of glassworkers using arsenic trioxide, and 245 micrograms/g for chemical workers engaged in manufacturing and handling inorganic arsenicals. The maximum recorded concentration was 956 micrograms/g. For the most exposed groups, the ranges in the average urinary arsenic speciation pattern were 1-6% As (V), 11-14% As (III), 14-18% MMAA, and 63-70% DMAA. The highly raised urinary arsenic concentrations for the chemical workers, in particular, and some glassworkers are shown to correspond to possible atmospheric concentrations in the workplace and intakes in excess of, or close to, recommended and statutory limits and those associated with inorganic arsenic related diseases.

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