The Development and Purposes of Arsenic Detoxification Technology
Currently, factors that adversely impact human health all too frequently exist within various industrial settings and in the natural environment, and the continued diversification of industrial activities further exacerbates these health risks. As there is no definitive cure for chronic arsenic poisoning, it is paramount to take prophylactic measures to minimize the chance of accidental inorganic arsenic (iAs) exposure. To that end, we have been attempting to develop detoxification techniques for neutralizing iAs at its sources by focusing on a mechanism for the stimulation of the biosynthesis of methylated arsenic compounds from iAs, a process that naturally occurs in some marine ecosystems. Arsenobetaine (AB) was chosen as a candidate for a detoxified iAs derivative based on its toxicological profile as it is much less toxic than iAs. The detoxification of iAs was verified with arsenical chemical weapons (abandoned stockpiled chemical weapons containing arsenic) and arsenic-contaminated well water. The photocatalytic titanium dioxide system was shown to convert other non-iAs compounds to AB. However, further development of efficiency and economy is considered needed to reach a level of the practical use for any system, and the disposal of arsenic waste generated is still an issue. For the future of humankind, we believe that it is a critical endeavor to further refine the concept and practice of iAs detoxification to minimize iAs-related health impact.
KeywordsArsenic Detoxication Arsenical chemical weapons Arsenic-contaminated water Chronic arsenic poisoning
This work was supported by the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP23406003 to H.Y. and Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (k2334) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, to K.N.
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