Arsenic exposure could increase diabetes risk

Aug 19, 2008

Inorganic arsenic, commonly found in ground water in certain areas, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study found that individuals with diabetes had higher levels of arsenic in the urine compared to individuals without diabetes. The results are published in the August 20, 2008, issue of JAMA.

"Our findings suggest that low levels of exposure to inorganic arsenic may play a role in diabetes," said Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. "While prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal, these findings add to the existing concerns about the long-term health consequences of low and moderate exposure to inorganic arsenic."

Inorganic arsenic is found naturally in rocks and soils. In the U.S., most exposure to inorganic arsenic comes from contaminated drinking water. Foods such as flour and rice can also provide small quantities of inorganic arsenic, particularly if grown or cooked in areas with arsenic contamination in soil or water. Seafood is a source of organic arsenic compounds that have little or no toxicity.

Researchers examined randomly selected urine samples taken from 788 U.S. adults 20 years or older that participated in a 2003—2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results were adjusted for diabetes risk factors, including body mass index and for organic arsenic compounds found in seafood.

In the U.S., approximately 13 million people live in areas where the concentration of inorganic arsenic in the public water supply exceeds standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, primarily in the West, Midwest and Northeast regions. Dietary intake of inorganic arsenic in the U.S. ranges from 8.4 to 14 micrograms per day for various age groups.

The authors concluded that given widespread exposure to inorganic arsenic from drinking water worldwide, clarifying the contribution of arsenic to the diabetes epidemic is a public health research priority with potential implications for the prevention and control of diabetes.

Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Explore further: New Mexico appeals court hears assisted suicide case

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Arsenic in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans

Apr 09, 2007

Pets may not be the only organisms endangered by some food additives. An arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans who eat meat from chickens that are raised on the feed, according to an ...

Recommended for you

How pornography influences and harms sexual behavior

31 minutes ago

A new article co-authored by a Virginia Commonwealth University professor suggests that pornography has become a primary source of sexual education, and has a tangible influence on the sex lives of young adults.

Hospitals helping violence victims could save millions

14 hours ago

At more than 25 hospitals across the U.S., health care professionals have embraced a public health approach to their work—taking action to prevent violent injuries, not just treat them. In programs known ...

How to stay safe when riding out a blizzard

16 hours ago

(HealthDay)—As a potentially record-breaking blizzard pummels the U.S. Northeast, there are steps residents should take to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, doctors say.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jcummins
not rated yet Aug 19, 2008
Like I said in previous post -- I truly enjoy reading most of the articles presented at physorg, but sure get tired of the NON-scientific use of the words COULD and MAY to justify articles like this one.

What kind of researchers at this school of health would utilize the UN-scientific words COULD and MAY to arrive at sound reasoning?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.