Arsenic Contamination in Environment in the Region of Vojvodina

Article excerpt


Ground waters in the region of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Republic of Serbia are endangered by arsenic (up to 0.750 mg/l). Total arsenic concentration was determined ln samples of untreated and treated water from some local and central water-supply systems. Results are compared to actual regulations in the country. This analysis encompassed 324 drinking water samples of various sources, analyzed in the Institute of Public Health Novi Sad, during 2005. Determined concentration of total arsenic in drinking water varies from 0.005 to 0.450 mg/l. Arsenic concentration in the river Danube water was within recommended value for I-II class. Maximum arsenic daily intake through food and nutrition was 60.9± 22.3 µg/day in 2000. To understand importance of the problem of arsenic environment contamination in Vojvodina region, our own results, as well as the results of other authors are presented and analyzed (drinking water: 173 samples, moss deposition and daily intake through nutrition).

Key words: arsenic, environment, daily intake, human health


Arsenic (As) belongs to the Vth group of periodical elements and it is broadly distributed worldwide, most often as an arsenic sulfide or as a metal arsenates and arsenides. Some soil microorganisms could transform arsen into volatile organic arsine, which could be found in the air. In water environment, it attaches to sediment and some species of fishes and Crustacea class cumulate it in their tissue. Arsenicale are used commercially and industrially, every so often as an herbicide compound which use is increasing (1,2).

Arsenic is introduced into drinking water sources primarily through dissolution of naturally occurring minerals. The most important route of human exposure is through oral intake of food, drinking water and beverages. There are a number of regions worldwide where arsenic may be present in drinking water sources, particularly in groundwater, at elevated concentration (3-9).

Province of Vojvodina (Fig. 1) represents Pannonian lowland where serious big arsenic contamination through the water and geological source can be expected. In this province live 2.03 1 ,992 inhabitants: 1.152,295 in urban and 879,697 in rural areas (10).

Most of arsenic-contaminated areas of Vojvodina are in the region of alluvial formation along the banks of the rivers Danube and Tisa (with confluent rivers from Romania: Zlatica, Begej, Tamis, Nera), Palie lake and groundwater from the rest of the province areas (depth of tube well from 60 to >100 meters): sub/artesian well. In groundwater in Vojvodina region arsenic concentrations are reaching levels above 0.010 mg/l. Arsenic concentration in the river Danube was within recommended value of 50 µg/l for I- II class during 1986/2003 (Official bulletin of Yugoslavia No 8/1978) (in its whole course through the Republic Serbia (11-13).

Primary Objective

To understand the significance of the arsenic contamination problem of environment in Vojvodina, we present our results of arsenic analysis (Institute of Public Health Novi Sad, Vojvodina) in drinking waters (drinking water - treatment and non-treatment), waters of the river Danube, as well as results of other authors (drinking water - treatment and non- treatment, food and As deposition in moss as bio-indicator).

Critical Analysis of the Arsenic Contamination Problem in Environment

There are sources of arsenic ores in the soil. It can be found in minerals, coal and petroleum; it is released during exploitation and use; in nature it is mostly connected with copper and iron minerals. Humans also influence changed arsenic concentration (1, 2, 9, 1 1, 13, 14). Concerning mineral-geological structure, soil of the Province of Vojvodina has arsenic concentration from 0.1 to 40 mg/ per kg^sup -1^, which is in accordance with results of other authors (15, 16).

Water is the most important vehicle of As in nature. …