2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:20 PM


VAHTER, Marie, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, SE-171 77, Sweden, marie.vahter@ki.se

Exposure to arsenic via ground water is a major global public health problem. The situation is particularly serious in many low-income countries, where people often are obliged to use ground water for drinking purposes, due to water constrains or pollution of available surface water sources. The use of arsenic-containing ground water for irrigation leads to wide-spread contamination of land and additional exposure via food. The health consequences of chronic arsenic exposure include various forms of cancer, e.g. skin, lungs, urinary bladder and kidney. Non-cancer effects associated with arsenic exposure include diabetes, skin diseases, chronic cough, toxic effects in liver, kidney, cardiovascular system, and peripheral- and central nervous systems, as well as reproductive and developmental effects. There seems to be a vide variation in susceptibility to arsenic toxicity. Our ongoing studies in Bangladesh aim at elucidating the effects on pregnancy outcomes and child development following early-life exposure to arsenic via drinking water. The concentrations of metabolites of inorganic arsenic in urine during pregnancy, as measured by HPLC-HG-ICPMS, vary between 1 and 1,500 µg/L. There is a significant correlation between arsenic in urine and arsenic in water, but large variations and indications of additional exposure via food. We aim at evaluate proposed risk modifying factors such as nutrition and arsenic metabolism. Arsenic is metabolized by a series of reduction and methylation reactions, which obviously modulate the toxicity.