Exposure to selected geogenic trace elements (I, Li, and Sr) from drinking water in Denmark

Denitza Dimitrova Voutchkova, Jörg Schullehner, Nikoline Nygård Knudsen, Lisbeth Flindt Jørgensen, Annette Kjær Ersbøll, Søren Munch Kristiansen, Birgitte Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The naturally occurring geogenic elements iodine (I), lithium (Li), and strontium (Sr) have a beneficial effect on human health. Iodine has an essential role in human metabolism while Li and Sr are used, respectively, as a treatment for various mental disorders and for post-menopausal osteoporosis. The aim here is to evaluate the potential for future epidemiological investigations in Denmark of lifelong and chronic exposure to low doses of these compounds. The drinking water data represents approximately 45% of the annual Danish groundwater abstraction for drinking water purposes, which supplies approximately 2.5 million persons. The spatial patterns were studied using inverse distance weighted interpolation and cluster analysis. The exposed population was estimated based on two datasets: (1) population density in the smallest census unit, the parishes, and (2) geocoded addresses where at least one person is residing. We found significant spatial variation in the exposure for all three elements, related mainly to geochemical processes. This suggests a prospective opportunity for future epidemiological investigation of long-term effects of I, Li, and Sr, either alone or in combinations with other geogenic elements such as Ca, Mg or F.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-66
Number of pages22
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2015


  • Denmark
  • Drinking wate
  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure
  • Iodine
  • Lithium
  • Spatial trends
  • Strontium
  • Treated groundwater

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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