Accumulation of Arsenic in Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Arsenic-Contaminated Areas in Cambodia
2010 by Davin Uy, Hak Sokchea
This study investigated the arsenic accumulation of crops grown in arsenic-polluted areas of Cambodia. Groundwater arsenic concentration in the provinces of Kandal, Kampong Cham, and Prey Veng ranged from 0.1 to 2, 0.1 to 0.8, and 0.05 to 0.7 milligrams per liter (mg/L), respectively. With surface water being available, farmers seldom use groundwater to irrigate crops. The mean soil arsenic content of sampled crops collected in the study areas were 6.30 milligrams per kilogram dry weight (mg/kg DW) in Kandal; 8.71 mg/kg DW in Kampong Cham; and 1.60 mg/ kg DW in Prey Veng. Samples collected from Battambang have low concentration of arsenic in the groundwater (0-0.005 mg/L), but a higher level of arsenic in the soil (5.07 mg/kg DW). Arsenic accumulation in crops ranged from 0 to 0.97 mg/kg DW in rice, 0 to 0.70 mg/kg DW in corn, and 0 to 0.75 mg/kg DW in cassava. Generally, arsenic accumulation was lower in dry season crops. This may relate to the release of the arsenic’s absorbable form caused by rainwater during the rainy season. Arsenic accumulation was low in crops grown in various locations and sold in Phnom Penh markets. Although results show that crops grown in arsenic-polluted areas accumulated lower arsenic levels than the Chinese standard limit of 8.33 mg/kg DW, consumption of these crops adds to the arsenic intake of people in rural areas who also consume arsenic-polluted groundwater.
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