Health risks from arsenic-contaminated soil in Flin Flon–Creighton, Canada: Integrating geostatistical simulation and dose–response model
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Elevated concentrations of arsenic were detected in surface soils adjacent to a smelting complex in northern Canada. We evaluated the cancer risks caused by exposure to arsenic in two communities through combining geostatistical simulation with demographic data and dose-response models in a framework. Distribution of arsenic was first estimated using geostatistical circulant-embedding simulation method. We then evaluated the exposures from inadvertent ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. Risks of skin cancer and three internal cancers were estimated at both grid scale and census-unit scale using parametric dose-response models. Results indicated that local residents could face non-negligible cancer risks (skin cancer and liver cancer mainly). Uncertainties of risk estimates were discussed from the aspects of arsenic concentrations, exposed population and dose-response model. Reducing uncertainties would require additional soil sampling, epidemic records as well as complementary studies on land use, demographic variation, outdoor activities and bioavailability of arsenic.
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