Sunday, February 14, 2010

MIMER Notes, February 14, 2010

Arsenic on the rise. Scientific publications on arsenic are on the rise. A survey on publications indexed in PubMed in the period 1990-2009 shows that the number of annual publications on arsenic have increased at a higher rate relatively to publications on mercury, cadmium and lead, which are considered the most important metal pollutants (Figure).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Evidence that low level arsenic causes Alzheimer disease and other dementias

MIMER notes, February 6th, 2010
Arsenic for the fool

Anthropogenic arsenic is insidiously building up together with natural arsenic to a level unprecedented in the history of mankind. Arsenopyrite (FeAsS) is the principal ore of arsenic and gold in hard rock mines; it is formed by a coupled substitution of sulphur by arsenic in the structure of pyrite (FeS(2)) - nicknamed "fool's gold". Other important sources of anthropogenic arsenic are fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

In a paper accepted for publication in the journal Science of the Total Environment, researcher Sergio Dani of Brazil's Medawar Institute for Medical and Environmental Research found that arsenic in topsoil is exponentially related to dementias in European countries.

Dani found an association of total arsenic concentrations in topsoils – as determined by ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) data made available from the FOREGS Project led by Salminen and colleagues in 2005 – with the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in Europe as reported by the Delphi consensus study led by Ferri and colleagues in 2005, and mortality data as reported by WHO for the year 2009.

This is the first indication that the environmental concentration of total arsenic in topsoils - in the 7-18 ppm range - is exponentially related to the prevalence and mortality of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. This evidence defies the imputed absence of verified cases of human morbidity or mortality resulting from exposure to low-level arsenic in topsoils.


Dani SU. Arsenic for the fool: An exponential connection. Science of the Total Environment (2010), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.01.027