Arsenic in Drinking Water Toxicological Risk Assessment in the North Region of Burkina Faso


Human health risks assessment were estimated by determining the nature and probability of adverse health effects in the North region’s populations who are now exposed to arsenic from drinking water or will be exposed in the future. Several questions were addressed in this study: what types of health problems may be caused by arsenic from drinking water? What is the chance that people will experience health problems when exposed to different levels of arsenic? What arsenic level are people exposed to and for how long? To answers these questions we have first identified the hazard by evaluating arsenic concentration in thirty-four (34) bore-hole water points among the region based on the assumption of clinical cases related to drinking water. Arsenic concentration ranged from 0 up to 87.8 micrograms per liter. Next we assessed the dose-response of exposure to arsenic. Dose-response relationship describes how the likelihood and severity of adverse health effects are related to the amount and condition of exposure to arsenic. This required us to choose toxicity reference values (TRVs) above which adverse effects may occur for noncarcinogenic and for carcinogenic effects. Exposure factors have been calculated in two scenarios: people from 0 to 14 years old and people from 15 to 70 years. Exposure has been estimated indirectly through consideration of measured concentrations of arsenic in drinking water. This study show that people in the Yatenga, Zondoma and Passore provinces are at very high risk for developing several pathologies such as hyper pigmentation, keratosis, cancer, etc. due by chronic exposure to arsenic in drinking water.

Share and Cite:

J. Nzihou, M. Bouda, S. Hamidou and J. Diarra, "Arsenic in Drinking Water Toxicological Risk Assessment in the North Region of Burkina Faso," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 5 No. 8A, 2013, pp. 46-52. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.58A007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, “2011 Statistical Yearbook of Drinking Water and Wastewater and Excreta,” 2011, pp. 35-40.
[2] Water and Environment Program of the North, “Realization of 360 Drillings in Villages of the Provinces of Yatenga, Lorum, Passoré and Zondoma from 1994 to 2004,” Arsenic Poisoning in the North: Two Dead and Eleven Wells Embargoed.
[3] P. L. Smedley, J. Knudsen and D. Maiga, “Arsenic in Groundwater from Mineralised Proterozoic Basement Rocks of Burkina Faso,” Applied Geochemistry, Vol. 22, No. 5, 2007, pp. 1074-1092. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.01.001
[4] I. T. Somé, A. K. Sakira, M. Ouédraogo, T. Z. Ouédraogo, A. Traoré, B. Sondo and P. I. Guissou, “Arsenic Levels in Tube-Wells Water, Food, Residents’ Urine and the Prevalence of Skin Lesions in Yatenga Province, Burkina Baso,” Interdisciplinary Toxicology, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2012, pp. 38-41.
[5] Institut Géographique du Burkina, “Cartoweb-Region Nord,” 2012.
[6] S. Nakolendousse, “Méthode d’Evaluation de la Productivité des Sites Aquifères au Burkina Faso,” Ph.D. Thesis, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, 1991.
[7] P. L. Smedley and D. G. Kinniburgh, “A Review of the Source, Behaviour and Distribution of Arsenic in Natural Waters,” Applied Geochemistry, Vol. 17, No. 5, 2002 pp. 517-568.
[8] D. van Halem, S. A. Bakker, G. L. Amy and J. C. van Dijk, “Arsenic in Drinking Water: A Worldwide Water Quality Concern for Water Supply Companies,” Drinking Water Engineering Science, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2009, pp. 29-34.
[9] M. Rahman, V. M. Sohel, M. Yunus, M. A. Wahed and P. K. Stretfrield, “Arsenic Exposure and Age-Sex Specific Risk for Skin Lesions: A Population Based Case-Referent Study in Bangladesh,” Environ Health Perspect, Vol. 114, No. 12, 2006, pp. 1847-1852.
[10] INERIS, “Choix des Valeurs Toxicologiquesde Référence (VTR)-Arsenic,” 2006.
[11] W. P. Tseng, H. M. Chu, S. W. How, J. M. Fong, C. S. Lin and S. Yeh, “Prevalence of Skin Cancer in an Endemic Area of Chronic Arsenicism in Taiwan,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 40, No. 3, 1968, pp. 453-463.
[12] W. P. Tseng, “Effects and Dose-Response Relationships of Skin Cancer and Blackfoot Disease with Arsenic,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 19, 1977, pp 109-119. doi:10.1289/ehp.7719109
[13] Institut National de la Statistique et de la Démographie, “Résultats Définitifs du Recensement Général de la Population et de l’Habitat 2006,” 2009.
[14] Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, “Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual. Appendix G: Calculating Exposure Doses,” 2005.
[15] World Health Organization, “Arsenic, Drinking-Water and Health Risk Substitution in Arsenic Mitigation: A Discussion Paper,” 2012.
[16] United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Risk Characterization,” 2013.
[17] World Health Organization, “Drinking Water Guidelines and Standards,” 2013.
[18] N. R. Khandaker, P. V. Brady and J. L. Krumhansl, “Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water: A Handbook for Communities,”

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.