Slightly elevated levels of arsenic are found in soil and groundwater in and around the municipality of Apeldoorn. The majority is of natural origin, a smaller part can be related to human (industrial) activities. At some locations, arsenic has accumulated in the upper soil layers through groundwater transport (seepage). However, research shows no problems for human health. This conclusion holds for children recreating at water play grounds and individuals that grow and consume their own vegetables from allotments.
This is the conclusion from research of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Wageningen Environmental Research, which was commissioned by the municipality of Apeldoorn. They developed a method to assess human health risks. The focus was on exposure to arsenic of children swallowing soil particles and individuals growing and consuming their own vegetables in allotments in and around the municipality of Apeldoorn.
With the purpose to assess exposure, the arsenic content in soil was measured at 25 locations, including vegetables gardens and places where children play. Subsequently, the amount of arsenic that enters the body after swallowing soil material that contains arsenic has been determined ('relative oral bioavailability'). Moreover, the arsenic content in soils and vegetables from the selected allotments was measured. Using the combined data on soil and crops, exposure through consumption of vegetables was determined.