There are concerns in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, about arsenic exposure due to past mining operations, particularly the former Giant Mine. The objective of this study was to characterize the risk of arsenic exposure and associated risk factors among the local residents. Arsenic (As) and its species were quantified in urine (n = 1966) using inductively coupled mass spectrometry. Children in the study were found to have significantly higher (p < 0.05) urinary inorganic-related As (uiAs) concentrations than children in the general Canadian population, as well as adults in the study. Additionally, uiAs concentrations in children, particularly those above the 95th percentile, are above the Biomonitoring Equivalents (BE) levels that are associated with dermal effects, vascular problems and cancer risks. Multiple linear regression results showed that market seafood (fish and shellfish) and rice consumption frequency were significantly positively associated with uiAs. Specific to children, drinking lake water was positively associated with uiAs. Specific to adults, consumption of local mushrooms and berries were significantly positively associated with uiAs while there was a significant negative association with age, smoking and recreational water activities. The risk factors identified in this research can be used for public health education to lower arsenic intake. Overall, these results support the need for an ongoing monitoring program.
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