Predicting Arsenic (As) Exposure on Human Health for Better Management of Drinking Water Sources

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 28;18(15):7997. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18157997.


Chemical pollution in the transboundary Langat River in Malaysia is common both from point and non-point sources. Therefore, the water treatment plants (WTPS) at the Langat River Basin have experienced frequent shutdown incidents. However, the Langat River is one of the main sources of drinking water to almost one-third of the population in Selangor state. Meanwhile, several studies have reported a high concentration of Arsenic (As) in the Langat River that is toxic if ingested via drinking water. However, this is a pioneer study that predicts the As concentration in the Langat River based on time-series data from 2005-2014 to estimate the health risk associated with As ingestion via drinking water at the Langat River Basin. Several time-series prediction models were tested and Gradient Boosted Tree (GBT) gained the best result. This GBT model also fits better to predict the As concentration until December 2024. The mean concentration of As in the Langat River for both 2014 and 2024, as well as the carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risks of As ingestion via drinking water, were within the drinking water quality standards proposed by the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health Malaysia. However, the ingestion of trace amounts of As over a long period might be detrimental to human health because of its non-biodegradable characteristics. Therefore, it is important to manage the drinking water sources to minimise As exposure risks to human health.

Keywords: GBT model; Langat River Basin; Malaysia; arsenic; drinking water; health risk; predictive analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic*
  • Drinking Water* / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rivers
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis
  • Water Purification*


  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Arsenic