Green Buckeye RN

EHN: Gut Bacteria Transforms Arsenic, Increases Its Toxicity
June 30, 2010, 9:30 am
Filed under: News

Jun 30, 2010

Van de Wiele, T, CM Gallawa, KM Kubachka, JT Creed, N Basta, EA Dayton, S Whitacre, GD Laing and K Bradham. 2010. Arsenic metabolism by human gut microbiota upon in vitro digestion of contaminated soils. Environmental Health Perspectives
Synopsis by Heather Stapleton

Bacteria living in human intestines can change arsenic’s chemistry, in some cases producing a more toxic form that is linked to cancer.

This is the first report of arsenic becoming more harmful as it passes through the human digestive track. The results parallel those found in animal studies and suggest that regulators may need to take into account the way exposures occur when determining the health risks associated with arsenic.

Arsenic pollution is a serious global health problem. It is driven by exposure to naturally-occurring sources – especially groundwater and food – and human activities associated with smelting and mining that create dust or liberate the metal from the soil.

High levels of arsenic occur naturally in India, Pakistan, parts of the United States and other hot spots around the world. Exposure to excess arsenic can lead to cancers of the lung, liver, bladder and kidney.

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