Environmental occurrence of arsenic in Colombia: a review

Environ Pollut. 2014 Mar;186:272-81. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.12.009. Epub 2013 Dec 30.


The international literature on the presence of arsenic (As) in Latin America does not disclose the true magnitude of the presence of As in Colombia. In this paper, we summarize the literature on As occurrence in Colombia. The data reveal that As is present in matrices such as soil, sediments and water and in the food chain. Some of the As concentrations exceed the limits specified by national and international regulations. Arsenic higher concentrations are associated with mining regions (e.g., soils, up to 148 mg/kg; sediments, up to 1400 mg/kg) and agricultural areas (e.g., vegetables, up to 5.40 mg/kg; irrigation water, up to 255 μg/L), and underscore the potential human and environmental risks associated with the presence of As in the country. This review highlights the importance of focusing research on understanding the occurrence, origin and distribution of As in Colombia to better understand its environmental and public health impact.

Keywords: Arsenic; Colombia; Latin American.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data
  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Colombia
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Environmental Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Chain
  • Humans
  • Mining
  • Soil
  • Vegetables / chemistry


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Soil
  • Arsenic