Characterization of Arsenic and Atrazine Contaminations in Drinking Water in Iowa: A Public Health Concern

Taehyun Roh, Peter S.K. Knappett, Daikwon Han, Gabriele Ludewig, Kevin M. Kelly, Kai Wang, Peter J. Weyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Arsenic and atrazine are two water contaminants of high public health concern in Iowa. The occurrence of arsenic and atrazine in drinking water from Iowa’s private wells and public water systems was investigated over several decades. In this study, the percentages of detection and violation of regulations were compared over region, season, and water source, and factors affecting the detection and concentration of arsenic and atrazine were analyzed using a mixed-effects model. Atrazine contamination in drinking water was found to vary by region, depending on agricultural usage patterns and hydrogeological features. The annual median atrazine levels of all public water systems were below the drinking water standard of 3 ppb in 2001–2014. Around 40% of public water systems contained arsenic at levels > 1 ppb in 2014, with 13.8% containing arsenic at levels of 5–10 ppb and 2.6% exceeding 10 ppb. This unexpected result highlights the ongoing public health threat posed by arsenic in drinking water in Iowa, emphasizing the need for continued monitoring and mitigation efforts to reduce exposure and associated health risks. Additionally, an atrazine metabolite, desethylatrazine, should be monitored to obtain a complete account of atrazine exposure and possible health effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5397
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 4 2023


  • Iowa
  • arsenic
  • atrazine
  • drinking water
  • water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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