Risk of arsenic exposure from drinking water and dietary components: implications for risk management in rural Bengal

Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jan 15;47(2):1120-7. doi: 10.1021/es303522s. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


This study investigates the risk of arsenic (As) exposure to the communities in rural Bengal, even when they have been supplied with As safe drinking water. The estimates of exposure via dietary and drinking water routes show that, when people are consuming water with an As concentration of less than 10 μg L(-1), the total daily intake of inorganic As (TDI-iAs) exceeds the previous provisional tolerable daily intake (PTDI) value of 2.1 μg day(-1) kg(-1) BW, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 35% of the cases due to consumption of rice. When the level of As concentration in drinking water is above 10 μg L(-1), the TDI-iAs exceeds the previous PTDI for all the participants. These results imply that, when rice consumption is a significant contributor to the TDI-iAs, supplying water with an As concentration at the current national drinking water standard for India and Bangladesh would place many people above the safety threshold of PTDI. We also found that the consumption of vegetables in rural Bengal does not pose a significant health threat to the population independently. This study suggests that any effort to mitigate the As exposure of the villagers in Bengal must consider the risk of As exposure from rice consumption together with drinking water.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Bangladesh
  • Diet
  • Drinking
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Risk Management
  • Rural Population
  • Vegetables / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Arsenic