Risk assessment of fluoride and arsenic in groundwater and a scenario analysis for reducing exposure in Inner Mongolia

Koyomi Nakazawa, Osamu Nagafuchi*, Uchralt Otede, Ji Qun Chen, Koji Kanefuji, Ken'ichi Shinozuka

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    In contrast to Mongolia, family-owned land in Inner Mongolia is separated by fences, preventing the free movement of nomads and leading people to rely heavily on the same source of groundwater for their domestic water needs. Therefore, it is important to clarify groundwater quality and understand the associated human health concerns. To evaluate the risks of drinking groundwater to human health in Inner Mongolia, we examined groundwater quality by field surveys, a human health risk analysis, and a scenario analysis. During the summer of 2015 in Inner Mongolia, we measured the concentrations of major ions, metals, metalloids, and rare earth metals in groundwater samples (n= 32) and river water samples (n= 10), for which there were no known anthropogenic contamination sources. In addition, as part of a scenario analysis, samples of tap water (n= 1), snowmelt (n= 1), and bottled water (n= 1) were also evaluated. We used our analytical results to calculate hazard quotient (HQ) ratios by means of a probabilistic risk assessment method. The results indicated that residents who drank groundwater every day might have risk concerns for F-(mean ± standard deviation, 2.51 ± 1.80 mg L-1; range, 0.07-7.70 mg L-1) and As (6.49 ± 9.64 µg L-1; 0.31-47.0 µg L-1). We observed no relationships between well depth or any geophysical variation and groundwater quality. On the basis of the scenario analysis results, we concluded that using snow as a source of drinking water in winter could reduce health risks associated with using groundwater for this population in Inner Mongolia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18296-18304
    Number of pages9
    JournalRSC Advances
    Issue number31
    Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2020


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