A major area of research at ESG is the study of arsenic in the environment. Arsenic is well known as a poison, but its actual toxic effects are dependent on two important aspects: its chemical form, or speciation, and the degree to which it is absorbed into a living organism, or bioavailability. Arsenic species can vary from highly toxic (e.g., As(III), arsenite) to completely non-
To differentiate these forms in samples, speciation analysis must be carried out. This analysis may include high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) methods combined with atomic absorption spectrometric (AAS) and inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometric (ICP-
In support of our work on arsenic and other elements (antimony, lead, chromium, mercury), we have access to state-
Arsenic research projects currently with funding:
(a) Arsenic transformations in the environment to non-
(b) Arsenic transformations in the environment in extremely contaminated site conditions. We have found that arsenic is transformed minimally at very contaminated sites, remaining predominantly in its toxic form. This phenomenon has been found a few marine sites but needs to be confirmed in different sites and conditions (terrestrial, freshwater, etc.).
(d) Contaminants, especially arsenic, in food and consumer products. Recent developments in the media have revealed that little information exists for arsenic and other inorganic elements in consumer products ( with apple juice and cosmetics being a focus) especially with respect to the toxicityThe lack of information is especially prevalent in Canada and thus research is targeted on this topic. At the moment we are compiling results on arsenic in wine, and in country foods (traditional, locally hunted/gathered/fished foods eaten by Aboriginal people) from Yellowknife, Canada.