Arsenic in Goldfields soil needs monitoring

Mar 22, 2012

Exposure to arsenic in soil and mine waste may have contributed to a slight increase in past cancer risk in socio-economically disadvantaged areas in the Goldfields region of Victoria, according to new research published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Researchers from the University of Ballarat have released findings showing that the incidence of some cancers between 1984 and 2003 was slightly higher in areas with higher

Dr Dora Pearce, now at the Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, explored how arsenic levels and cancer rates varied across central Victoria. 

By using 20 years of data from the Victorian Registry and a measure of soil arsenic derived from geochemical data provided by the University of Ballarat and GeoScience Victoria, Dr Pearce has concluded that ongoing recorded monitoring of environmental sources of arsenic is needed. 

“Arsenic is naturally occurring around gold mineralisation and is even used as an indicator in gold exploration, so it can be concentrated in soil and mine waste dumps that are still scattered across our landscape,” Dr Dora Pearce said.

In the Goldfields region, many residential communities have grown up around historical gold mining areas. 

“Our previous research detected small traces of arsenic in toenail clippings from children living in this region, showing that exposure to arsenic in soil could be an ongoing problem and that we should not be too complacent.

 “We hope that by raising community awareness of this issue, childhood exposures to in soil, and future , will be reduced in the Goldfields region of Victoria,” Dr Pearce said.

Explore further: Study casts doubt on climate benefit of biofuels from corn residue

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers study toenails as marker for arsenic exposure

Dec 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- UA scientists have teamed up to study the relationship between arsenic in human toenails and arsenic concentration in drinking water. Exposure to arsenic is associated with several chronic diseases ranging ...

Water-stingy agriculture reduces arsenic in rice markedly

Jul 28, 2008

A new farming method first developed to conserve precious irrigation water may have the added benefit of producing rice containing much less arsenic than rice grown using traditional rice-farming methods, researchers in the ...

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.