Incidental ingestion of contaminated soil and dust is a major pathway for human exposure to many inorganic contaminants. To date, exposure research has focused on arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb), however, these studies have typically assessed metal(loid) bioavailability individually, even when multiple elements are present in the same matrix. As a consequence, it is unclear whether interactions between these elements occur within the gastro-intestinal tract, which may impact absorption and accumulation. In this study, the influence of contaminant co-exposure was assessed using a mouse bioassay and soluble forms of As, Cd and Pb supplied in mouse chow as individual, binary and tertiary elemental combinations. Arsenic urinary excretion and Pb-liver accumulation were unaffected by As-Pb co-exposure (1–10 mg As kg−1and 3–30 mg Pb kg−1) while Cd-kidney accumulation was unaffected by the presence of As and/or Pb. However, Cd co-exposure decreased As urinary excretion and increased Pb-liver accumulation. It was hypothesized that Cd influenced arsenate absorption as a consequence of the impairment of phosphate transporters. Although the reason for increasing Pb-liver accumulation following Cd co-exposure is unclear, enhanced Pb accumulation may occur as a result of transport protein overexpression or changes in divalent metal compartmentalization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis