Combining Arsenic Data Across Populations Sheds Light on Exposure Sources

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By combining data across three different populations, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers were able to better characterize sources of arsenic exposure that should be included in risk assessments. The study was a collaboration among the University of California (UC), Berkeley, University of New Mexico (UNM), and Columbia University SRP centers.

Arsenic, naturally found in earth’s crust, is associated with a range of health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Health risk estimates are primarily based on exposure to arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic is mostly excreted from the body through urine. But the researchers found that comparisons of levels of arsenic that people ingest to levels of arsenic that they excrete were inconsistent. They believed that revealing other exposure sources in water, food, and dust might be important, especially for specific populations.

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