Health Encyclopedia

 

Health Encyclopedia Home



Moderate Arsenic in Environment Tied to Higher Heart Attack, Stroke Risk

Moderate Arsenic in Environment Tied to Higher Heart Attack, Stroke Risk

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- People chronically exposed to low to moderate levels of arsenic in their environment may be more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease, a study of American Indians suggests.

Previous research has linked exposure to high levels of arsenic in drinking water (more than 100 micrograms per liter) with coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease and carotid atherosclerosis.

Environmental health researchers decided to explore whether exposure to the lower levels of arsenic more commonly found in drinking water or food also would increase the risk of heart disease.

"We didn't know what would happen at levels that occur regularly in the United States," said study author Dr. Ana Navas-Acien, a researcher in the department of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Regular exposure to more common levels of arsenic did indeed correlate to increased risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease, even after adjusting for other risk factors such as smoking, obesity and cholesterol levels, according to the findings, which were published in the Sept. 24 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

"It's a chronic long-term health effect," Navas-Acien said. "We need to understand that cardiovascular disease is a very complex illness, and there are many environmental risk factors like arsenic which can contribute."

Although the study found that relatively common levels of arsenic in drinking water were associated with a higher risk of heart disease, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The researchers studied nearly 3,600 American Indian men and women living in Arizona, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota, beginning in 1989 and following up with them through 2008.

Groundwater likely provided the major source of arsenic exposure in Arizona and the Dakotas, researchers said. Private wells in those states often exceed the U.S. standard for arsenic in drinking water of 10 micrograms per liter, and are sometimes as high as 50 micrograms per liter.

Oklahomans likely were exposed to arsenic through their food, with potential sources including rice, flour and other grains, the researchers wrote.

Study participants provided urine samples that the research team used to estimate their exposure to inorganic arsenic.

Of the participants, nearly 450 died of cardiovascular disease and almost 1,200 developed either fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that a person's risk of death from cardiovascular disease increased with their arsenic exposure.

The one-quarter of patients who showed the highest levels of arsenic in their urine had about a 50 percent increased risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to those with the lowest levels of arsenic, Navas-Acien said.

Arsenic exposure also was associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

"The paper is very important," said Alice Lichtenstein, a distinguished professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University. "It's an area where we need to look more carefully. It gives other research groups another variable to address." She was not involved with the study.

Lichtenstein, however, noted that the study did not draw a direct link between arsenic and heart disease, but instead found a correlation between the two.

"We don't know what the direct effect is. What is important is that we gather more information, which I hope will be done promptly," said Lichtenstein, who also is the director of the cardiovascular nutrition laboratory at the university. "We should not discount this. It's very important. But I think we need a little more information."

People who are concerned about their arsenic intake should have their drinking water tested, Navas-Acien said.

"In particular, people who live in small communities or have private wells should be aware of the arsenic levels in their drinking water," she said. "If you use groundwater and you don't know the levels of arsenic in your drinking water, that can be quite dangerous."

Lichtenstein and Navas-Acien agreed that people concerned about arsenic also should mix up their diet.

"The best advice we can give people is to eat food that comes from a variety of different regions, as opposed to being raised in a single location," Lichtenstein said.

People also should vary their day-to-day eating patterns, Navas-Acien said.

"There are children out there who drink apple juice every day," she said. "That's risky because we know there are elevated arsenic levels in juice. People need to diversify their diet."

In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a threshold for arsenic levels in apple juice.

More information

To learn more about arsenic in drinking water, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SOURCES: Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D., researcher, department of environmental health sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, director and senior scientist, cardiovascular nutrition laboratory, Tufts University, Boston; Sept. 24, 2013, Annals of Internal Medicine

 
Related Items
Daily News Feed
  Poll: U.S. Adults Support Smoking Ban in Cars With Kids
  Bright Lights, Safe Cities
  Smoking During Pregnancy Tied to Behavior Issues in Kids
  Hair-Straightening Product May Endanger Stylists, Clients
  Could a Full Moon Keep You Up at Night?
  Pond Scum Holds Dangers for People, Pets
  Plastics Chemical BPA May Harm Human Fertility: Study
  Camping Sets Body Clock In Tune With Nature
  Postpartum Depression Risk May Rise for New Moms in Big Cities
  Indoor Incense Triggers Lung Cell Inflammation, Study Shows
  Red Night Light Better for Blue Mood: Animal Study
  Messy Office a Fertile Ground for Creative Mind: Study
  Many Kids With Asthma Live With Secondhand Smoke: CDC
  Cutting Soot, Methane Will Benefit Climate Less Than Predicted: Study
  Copper in Environment May Be Tied to Alzheimer's
  Lead Exposure Tied to Early Risk of School Suspension
  Plastics Chemicals May Boost Kids' Risk for Obesity, Diabetes
  Brain Lesions More Common in High-Altitude Pilots, Study Finds
  Researchers Prove Carbon Monoxide Passes Through Walls
  CDC Frees Up Drug That Fights Brain-Eating Amoeba
  Scientists Pinpoint Source of Mercury in Pacific Ocean Fish
  U.S. Schools Show Progress in Healthy Behaviors, CDC Says
  Recycled Wastewater Safe for Crop Irrigation, Study Says
  Anxiety Linked to a Need for More Personal Space
  New Clues to Causes of Autism Found
  Ocean Plume from Japan Nuke Disaster Will Reach U.S. by 2014
  Scientists Tally Viruses Living in Mammals
  Short Sleep on Work Nights Common: Poll
  Bedbugs' Genes May Protect Them From Insecticides
  FDA: Low Levels of Arsenic in Rice
  Serious MRSA Infections in U.S. Declining: CDC
  Drinking Locations Factor Into Partner Violence, Study Says
  EPA Suggests Safer Flame Retardants
  Blood Levels of Banned Flame Retardant Drop for Pregnant Women in California
  Evidence Shows Steroid Used in Livestock Can Impact Waterways
  Righty? Lefty? Genes' Role Still Unclear
  Your Aquarium Can Be Source of Skin Infections
  High Smog Levels Tied to Serious Heart Problems
  Lower Smog Levels Tied to Lower Birth Weights
  Plastics Chemicals Tied to Reproductive Woes for Both Sexes
  Shellfish Toxin Spreading to Eastern U.S., Report Says
  Last Two Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
  Breast Cancer Diagnosed at Later Stage in Rural Patients: Study
  Sunny Regions Reflect Lower ADHD Rates: Study
  Gaps in Smoke-Free Workplace Laws May Leave Many Exposed
  Two Pesticides Tied to Higher Risk of Gynecological Disorder
  Adjust the Lights, Hold the Morphine?
  Cat Allergies Double Among Asthma Sufferers, Study Reveals
  Kids in Southern U.S. More Likely to Have Hay Fever: Study
  Poorer Childhoods, More Colds as Adults?
  Exposure to the Metal Tungsten May Raise Stroke Risk
  CPR Training Rates Lower in Poor, Rural U.S. Communities
  Prevent Home Heating From Becoming a Safety Hazard
  Mercury Levels Dropping in Younger U.S. Women: Report
  Colossal Predatory Dinosaur Remains Identified in Utah
  More Wealth May Lead to More Disappointment, Study Finds
  Study Sheds Light on Link Between Pesticides, Parkinson's
  OMG, Guys Can Talk Like Valley Girls, Too?
  Just Imagining Brightness Might Make Your Eyes React
  Health Tip: Cleaning Up Mold
  Faster-Breeding Cockroach Taking Over in Southwestern U.S.
  Higher Altitude May Lower Sports Concussion Risk, Study Suggests
  Could Water Near Fracking Sites Disrupt Hormones?
  The Cold, Hard Truth About Surviving Bitter Winter Weather
  The Cold, Hard Truth About Surviving Bitter Winter Weather
  Bedbugs Love a Crowd, Study Finds
  Veteran Firefighters May Develop Heat Resistance
  Students Smoke Weed Despite Drug Testing at Schools, Study Finds
  City Parks Boost Mood, Study Suggests
  Ban on Chemicals Lowers Human Exposures, Study Finds
  Smog Linked to Higher Heart Attack Risk
  Cheap Chinese Goods May Mean More Smog in U.S., Study Finds
  Dealing With The Deep Freeze
  Third Deep Freeze Sweeps Across Country
  DDT Exposure May Raise Alzheimer's Risk: Study
  Another Arctic Blast Has Much of U.S. in Its Grip
  Skin Cancer Risk Seen in Vietnam Vets Exposed to Agent Orange
  More Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's Risk
  Climate Change Predicted to Boost Heat-Related Deaths
  Expectant Mothers' Colds May Affect Baby
  Old Wood Stoves a Costly Way to Keep Warm, Experts Say
  Could the Weather Affect Your Stroke Risk?
  Elephants Comfort Each Other in Distress: Study
  Gut Bacteria Tied to Obesity May Vary With Geography
  Heavy Kids Exposed to Everyday Chemicals May Face More Heart Risks
  Offices With Open Floor Plans Tied to More Sick Days
  EPA Sets Tougher Auto Fuel, Emissions Standards
  Allergy Rates Surprisingly Similar Across the U.S., Study Finds
  September Peak Month for Kids' Asthma Flares: Study
  More Evidence Environmental Exposures Contribute to Autism
  Could 'Nasal Filter' Device Help Ease Allergies?
  Allergy Season Springs Into Bloom
  Traffic Smog Tied to Hospital Stays for White Kids With Asthma
  Cholesterol Levels Spike During Winter Months, Study Finds
  Smoke-Free Policies May Protect the Heart
  Health Tip: Know the Hazards of Lead
  Heat Waves Tied to Higher Rates of Early-Term Deliveries
  The Morning Light May Help You Stay Slim
  Prevent Tick Bites While Enjoying the Outdoors
  Carbon Monoxide Poisonings May Rise During Storms
  Having Kids Walk to School Comes With Risks, Benefits
  Arsenic in Well Water Tied to Less Brain Power in U.S. Study
  Civilians in War Zones Also Suffer Mental Health Problems: Study
  Spring Cleaning Helps Stave Off Allergy Symptoms: Experts
  Health Tip: Getting Rid of Dust Mites
  Nonwhites Exposed to More Air Pollution: Study
  Adjusting Your Thermostat Might Improve Your Thinking
  Could Cow Fertilizer Help Spread Antibiotic Resistance?
  Winter's Polar Vortex Ushers in Spring's 'Pollen Vortex'
  Japan Quake Shows How Stress Alters the Brain
  Southeastern States Have Highest Rates of Preventable Deaths
  Time Outdoors May Help Kids Connect With Nature
  Stillbirths Higher After Hurricanes Katrina And Rita: Study
  Could Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Strip Foods of Some Nutrients?
  CDC Targets 5 Parasitic Infections
  Hand Microbes Might Reflect Where, How You Live
  Solar Flares Might Actually Help Some Heart Patients
  Foreclosures May Raise Neighbors' Blood Pressure
  Children's Asthma Linked to Air Pollution in 2nd Trimester: Study
  Flame Retardants Common in Dust at Child Care Centers: Study
  As Summer Arrives, CDC Offers Pool Chemical Safety Tips
  Preventing Tick Bites
  Can Fire Retardants Raise Risk of Children Born With Lower IQs?
  Man Dies of Lung Disease After Working With Countertops, Doctors Report
  Hurricanes With Female Names Have Been Deadlier
  5 or More Bad Sunburns While Young Tied to Higher Melanoma Risk
  Obama Moves to Cut Power Plant Emissions
  'Walkable' Neighborhoods May Help Cut Diabetes Rates
  Standing During Meetings May Get Creative Juices Flowing
  Sounds of Summer May Threaten Your Hearing
  Mother's Birthplace May Affect Autism Risk in Kids
  Many Pregnant Women Not Told to Avoid Environmental Toxins
  1 in 10 U.S. Beaches Fails Bacteria Test, Survey Finds
  Bad Weather May Dampen Will to Exercise
  Hurricane Season Has Begun: Are You Ready?
  Will a Warmer Climate Mean More Kidney Stones?
  Don't Blame Bad Weather for Your Aching Back
  EPA Unveils New Bug Repellant Labeling