Using iron precipitants to remove arsenic from water: Is it safe?

Victor Raj Mohan Chandrasekaran, Ilayaraja Muthaiyan, Po Chang Huang, Ming Yie Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenic-associated health complications are reported worldwide. Arsenic is a documented toxic element in drinking water. Removing arsenic from drinking water is widely dependent on iron-based techniques. Although inorganic arsenic has long been known to be toxic to humans, little is known about the toxic effect of the interaction between arsenic and iron. We investigated the effect of arsenic plus iron on the liver of rats. We gave rats sodium arsenite, iron, or sodium arsenite plus iron. Neither the arsenic-alone nor the iron-alone treatments altered their serum aspartate or alanine transaminase levels. However, a combination of non-toxic doses of arsenite and iron synergistically increased serum aspartate and alanine transaminase levels and lipid peroxidation in liver tissue. Therefore, we hypothesize that arsenic plus iron synergistically induces hepatic damage mediated through oxidative stress in rats. Our study indicates an important public health issue: using iron precipitants to remove arsenic from water may cause oxidative hepatic damage in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5823-5827
Number of pages5
JournalWater Research
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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