Well-known purification technologies built for arsenic (As) removal from drinking water are not sustainable, either being unaffordable or inefficient in the elimination of traces of As. In our experiments, we observed that carbonate ion can counteract the effects of As exposure as it efficiently prevented As-induced cytotoxicity on epithelial cell lines of the small intestine (IEC-6). The cotreatment of IEC-6 cells with 40 ppm of carbonates and As (≥3 ppm) showed substantial remissions in the As-induced cytotoxicity and increased the viability from 50% to 75%. The production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cellular acidification were also reduced in this process (pH increase from 5 to 6.5). Thus, the present study suggests that the cytoprotective effect of carbonate can involve multiple pathways, such as reduction of extracellular/intracellular acidosis, H2O2 decomposition, balancing mitochondrial potential, and immobilization of As. We show that As-contaminated drinking water enriched with carbonates up to 40 ppm has a reduced toxic effect on cells in comparison to that of an As-alone sample. Therefore, carbonates can act as an adjunct in addition to the prevailing approaches to tackle mass poisoning by As. We believe that this study is initial evidence for developing an alternative method to tackle the prevailing mass environmental poisoning by As, using locally available, affordable, safe, and sustainable solutions.
|Journal||ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering|