A new study is warning that even low-level exposure to arsenic in drinking water appears to be associated with increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
Inorganic arsenic, both of geogenic origin or as an anthropogenic pollutant is present in many water resources throughout the globe with the most highly contaminated regions including Bangladesh, West Bengalen, Taiwan, Vietnam and Chile. For years, it's been known that arsenic is linked to cancer. At high levels of exposure, it also is connected to cardiovascular health and diabetes, but that evidence comes from regions where arsenic levels in drinking water and the environment are very high (see above).
The Environmental Protection Agency mandates arsenic levels in drinking water not exceed 10 parts per billion (ppb), but more than 13 million Americans are living in areas with arsenic levels above that, according to the new study. However, little is known about the health implications of such lower exposure to inorganic arsenic.The new study:
Ana Navas-Acien, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
, Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues studied 788 adults age 20 and older who had their urine tested for arsenic levels as part of a government-conducted 2003-2004 survey.
The researchers found that the 7.7 percent of the participants who had type 2 diabetes, after adjusting for other diabetes risk factors, had a 26 percent higher level of arsenic in their urine than those without the disease.
The study also found that 20 percent of the participants who had the highest arsenic levels in their urine (16.5 micrograms per liter) had 3.6 times higher risk of having type 2 diabetes than the 20 percent with the lowest level (3.0 micrograms per liter).The original study Ana Navas-Acien
, Ellen K. Silbergeld
, Roberto Pastor-Barriuso, Eliseo Guallar, Arsenic Exposure and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Adults
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A. Ettinger, A. Zota, C. Amarasiriwardena, M. Osborn, H. Hu, Maternal hair arsenic and risk of gestational diabetes
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A. Navas-Acien, E.K. Silbergeld, R.A. Streeter, J.M. Clark, T.A. Burke, E. Guallar, Arsenic exposure and type 2 diabetes: A systematic review of the experimental and epidemiologic evidence
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, J. Expo. Anal. Environ. Epidemiol., 13/3 (2003) 231. DOI: 10.1038/sj.jea.7500275 Related EVISA Resources Journals Database: Journal of the American Medical Association Link database: Toxicity of Inorganic Arsenic Link Database: Arsenic Environmental Pollution Related EVISA News July 29, 2006: Columbia University Receives $16.9 Million Award from NIEHS to Study Origin and Health Effects of Arsenic in Ground Water January 18, 2006: Hungarians exposed to high arsenic levels in drinking water July 29, 2005: Arsenic-free water still a pipedream May 15, 2005: Use of organoarsenicals as pesticides may lead to contamination of soils and groundwater with toxic arsenic species
last time modified: June 26, 2020