Binational arsenic exposure survey: methodology and estimated arsenic intake from drinking water and urinary arsenic concentrations

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Apr;9(4):1051-67. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9041051. Epub 2012 Mar 26.


The Binational Arsenic Exposure Survey (BAsES) was designed to evaluate probable arsenic exposures in selected areas of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, two regions with known elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater reserves. This paper describes the methodology of BAsES and the relationship between estimated arsenic intake from beverages and arsenic output in urine. Households from eight communities were selected for their varying groundwater arsenic concentrations in Arizona, USA and Sonora, Mexico. Adults responded to questionnaires and provided dietary information. A first morning urine void and water from all household drinking sources were collected. Associations between urinary arsenic concentration (total, organic, inorganic) and estimated level of arsenic consumed from water and other beverages were evaluated through crude associations and by random effects models. Median estimated total arsenic intake from beverages among participants from Arizona communities ranged from 1.7 to 14.1 µg/day compared to 0.6 to 3.4 µg/day among those from Mexico communities. In contrast, median urinary inorganic arsenic concentrations were greatest among participants from Hermosillo, Mexico (6.2 µg/L) whereas a high of 2.0 µg/L was found among participants from Ajo, Arizona. Estimated arsenic intake from drinking water was associated with urinary total arsenic concentration (p < 0.001), urinary inorganic arsenic concentration (p < 0.001), and urinary sum of species (p < 0.001). Urinary arsenic concentrations increased between 7% and 12% for each one percent increase in arsenic consumed from drinking water. Variability in arsenic intake from beverages and urinary arsenic output yielded counter intuitive results. Estimated intake of arsenic from all beverages was greatest among Arizonans yet participants in Mexico had higher urinary total and inorganic arsenic concentrations. Other contributors to urinary arsenic concentrations should be evaluated.

Keywords: BAsES; arsenic; beverages; intake; metabolite; urine; water.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arizona
  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Arsenicals / urine
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cacodylic Acid / urine
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Arsenicals
  • Biomarkers
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Cacodylic Acid
  • monomethylarsonic acid
  • Arsenic