Humans are exposed to arsenic (As) through air, drinking water, and food. The arsenic (As) hazardous quotient was calculated on the basis of its concentration in drinking water of different origin and scalp hair of male subjects (n = 313), residents of different exposed and non-exposed areas of Sindh, Pakistan. The total As was determined in water and scalp hair samples, while As species were determined in water samples by advance extraction methodologies. The total As concentrations in drinking water of less-exposed (LE) and high-exposed (HE) areas was found to be 2.63 to 4.46 and 52 to 235, fold higher than the permissible limit, respectively, than recommended by World Health Organization (2004) for drinking water. While the levels of As in drinking water of non-exposed (NE) areas was within the permissible limit. The resulted data indicated that the dominant species was As+5 in groundwater samples. The levels of As in scalp hair samples of male subjects of two age groups (18-30 and 31-50 years), belonging to NE, LE, and HE areas, ranged from 0.26 to 0.69, 0.58 to 1.34, and 15.6 to 60.9 mu g/g, respectively. A significant correlation between As levels in drinking water and scalp hair was observed in HE area (r = 0.86-0.90, p < 0.001) as compared to those subjects belonging to LE area. A toxicity risk assessment was calculated as hazard quotient (HQ), which indicates that the study subjects of HE area have significantly higher values of HQ than LE. The population of As exposed areas is at high risk of non-carcinogenic and carcinogenesis effects.
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