Arsenic (As), and fluoride (F−) are potent contaminants with established carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic impacts on the exposed populations globally. Despite elevated groundwater As and F− levels being reported from various regions of Pakistan no biomonitoring study has been reported yet to address the co-exposure impact of As and F− among school children. We aimed to investigate the effects of these two contaminants on dental fluorosis and intelligence quotient (IQ) along with the induction of oxidative stress in rural children under co-exposed conditions. A total of 148 children (5 to 16 years old) from the exposed and control group were recruited in the current study from endemic rural areas of Lahore and Kasur districts, Pakistan having elevated As and F− levels in drinking water than permissible limits. We monitored malondialdehyde and its probable association with antioxidants activity (SOD, CAT, and GR) as a biomarker of oxidative stress. GSTM1/T1 polymorphisms were measured to find the impact of As on health parameters. Mean urinary concentrations of As (2.70 vs. 0.016 µg/L, P < 0.000) and F− (3.27 vs. 0.24 mg/L, P < 0.000) as well as the frequency of dental fluorosis were found elevated among the exposed group. The cases of children with lower IQ were observed high in the exposed group. Additionally, lower concentrations of antioxidants (SOD, CAT, and GR) were found suggesting high susceptibility to F− toxicity. The findings suggest that F− accounted for high variations in health parameters of children under the co-exposure conditions with As.
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We are thankful to all individuals who volunteered to participate in this study. We greatly acknowledge Dr. Atif Kamal for his assistance during the sampling campaign.
The study was ethically approved by the bioethics committee of the faculty of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
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Saeed, M., Rehman, M.Y.A., Farooqi, A. et al. Arsenic and fluoride co-exposure through drinking water and their impacts on intelligence and oxidative stress among rural school-aged children of Lahore and Kasur districts, Pakistan. Environ Geochem Health 44, 3929–3951 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-021-01141-4
- School children
- Dental fluorosis
- Intelligence quotient