Arsenic Speciation in the Environment
Further to the successful completion of our study that measured the arsenic and chromium levels on children s hands after playing in playgrounds, this study will extend to measure biomarkers of exposure. Chromium and arsenic speciation in saliva and urine samples from the participating children will be determined and will be used to assess children's overall exposure to arsenic and chromium. To address some concerns over arsenic in game meat and traditional foods of the First Nations, moose and deer meat as well as cattail plant samples collected from First Nations communities in Northern Alberta will be studied for arsenic speciation. The chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques that have been developed during the previous period will be applied to the characterization and quantitation of arsenic species in these food samples. The skin and starchy tuber of cattail plants will be analyzed separately because our preliminary results have shown that elevated arsenic levels are found to be localized on the surface (skin) and fine roots of cattail. This separate analysis is important because it is the starchy tuber that is usually consumed. The speciation techniques will further be adapted and applied to studies of vanadium speciation in oilsands and processing by-products. Release of relatively high levels of vanadium from oilsands is a potential environmental concern that requires attention.