Formula: As; CAS Registry Number: 7440-38-2

Ubiquitous toxic metalloid

Arsenic compounds were used as pesticides in agriculture and forestry until the 1980s and 2004, respectively. Moreover, several drugs are based on arsenic and it is used e.g. in electronic industry, metal alloys, and in the process of glass production.

Weathering, volcanic activities, and solution in waters, biological processes and anthropogenic activities may lead to emissions of arsenic. It is mobile in all environmental compartments and may circulate for a long time before settling in sediments.

Several arsenic compounds are highly toxic to humans and classified as carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic

Toxicity has also been demonstrated for aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Arsenic is accumulated by aquatic organisms (bioaccumulation). Biomagnification in the food web can not be ruled out.

For more information about the for chemical analysis see the Guidelines for Chemical Analysis: Determination of Arsenic and Selenium in Environmental Samples by ICP-MS after Hydride Formation.


  • Common mussel species as invasive animal in rivers and lakes with high information level for water pollution
  • Bioindicator in rivers and lakes
  • Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase
  • Common brown alga of the coastal areas of the North and Baltic Sea
  • One of the most important edible mussel species common in the North and Baltic Sea
  • As the only viviparous fish in German nearshore waters, it is a bioindicator in nearshore coastal marine ecosystems.
  • Inshore, the herring gull mainly feeds from the sea: upon fish, mussels, and crabs.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A deciduous tree typical of ecosystems close to dense conurbations and an indicator for the characterisation of the immission situation during the vegetation period.
  • As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
  • Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.
  • Student groups with an even number of female and male students at the age of 20 to 29.

Sampling area

Sampling period

1985 - 2022