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Journal of Environmental Biology

pISSN: 0254-8704 ; eISSN: 2394-0379 ; CODEN: JEBIDP

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        Abstract - Issue Apr Supplement 2007, 28 (2)                                                                                                             Back


Metabolism of inorganic arsenic and non-cancerous health hazards associated with chronic exposure in humans


Chin-Hsiao Tseng*

Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital,

National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipai, Taiwan, School of Public Health, Taipei, Medical University,

Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine of the National Health Research Institutes, Taipei, Taiwan

(Received: August 16, 2005; Revised received: December 10, 2005; Accepted:February 15, 2006)

Abstract: Humans can be exposed to arsenic from a variety of environmental, occupational and medicinal sources. Exposure from drinking water is the most common source nowadays. Inorganic arsenic is metabolized by two main biochemical reactions: reduction and oxidative methylation. Recent studies have confirmed a reactivation of the toxic effects of arsenic associated with such methylation process, because the methylated metabolites, especially the trivalent forms, are more toxic than the inorganic arsenicals. Chronic exposure to arsenic can cause a variety of cancerous and non-cancerous health hazards in humans. The main non-cancerous health hazards include cardiovascular disease, skin lesions, neurological problems, diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

Key words: Inorganic arsenic, Human exposure, Health hazards, Blackfoot disease, Neuropathy


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