Collaborative response to arsenic-contaminated soil in an Appalachian Kentucky neighborhood

Anna Q. Yaffee, Ben Scott, Colleen Kaelin, Janie Cambron, Wayne Sanderson, W. Jay Christian, Tim P. Moran, Jan Chamness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with an increased exposure to arsenic-contaminated soil in a Kentucky neighborhood as part of collaborative public health response. An exposure assessment survey was administered to residents and toenail clippings and soil samples analyzed for arsenic concentration. The associations between exposure variables and arsenic concentrations were evaluated using a multivariate-generalized estimating equation. An ecological assessment of cancer incidence in the community was also conducted using standardized incidence ratio maps. Median toenail arsenic was 0.48 micrograms/gram (µg/g), twice the expected regional level of 0.2 µg/g. Mean residence surface soil arsenic level was 64.8 ppm. An increase of 1 ppm of residence concentration was significantly associated with a 0.003 µg/g rise in toenail levels. Concentrations for respondents who engaged in digging were 0.68 µg/g significantly higher compared to individuals who did not. No significantly elevated rates of lung or bladder cancer were observed in the affected ZIP codes. Living in areas with high soil arsenic contamination might lead to (1) increased exposure; (2) elevated residence soil arsenic concentrations and (3) the action of digging in the soil was associated with elevated toenail arsenic levels. Based upon elevated soil levels identified, residents were recommended to move from the contaminated environment until remediation was complete. Additional recommendations included regular health-care follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-701
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis.


  • Arsenic
  • Kentucky
  • environmental contamination
  • exposure assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Collaborative response to arsenic-contaminated soil in an Appalachian Kentucky neighborhood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this