Arsenic and other trace element concentrations were determined for tube-well water collected in the Lao PDR provinces of Attapeu, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Savannakhet, Saravane, and Vientiane. Water samples, especially from floodplain areas of central and southern Laos, were significantly contaminated not only with As, but with B, Ba, Mn, U, and Fe as well. Total As concentrations ranged from <0.5 mu g L-1 to 278 mu g L-1, with over half exceeding the WHO guideline of 10 mu gL(-1). 46% of samples, notably, were dominated by As(III). Samples from Vientiane, further north, were all acceptable except on pH, which was below drinking water limits. A principal component analysis found associations between general water characteristics, As, and other trace elements. Causes of elevated As concentrations in Lao tube wells were considered similar to those in other Mekong River countries, particularly Cambodia and Vietnam, where young alluvial aquifers give rise to reducing conditions. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.