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Arsenic in drinking water and cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and kidney disease in Michigan: a standardized mortality ratio analysis *

Exposure to arsenic concentrations in drinking water in excess of 300 μg/L is associated with diseases of the circulatory and respiratory system, several types of cancer, and diabetes; however, little is known about the health consequences of exposure to low-to-moderate levels of arsenic (10–100 μg/L).

A standardized mortality ratio (SMR) analysis was conducted in a contiguous six county study area of southeastern Michigan to investigate the relationship between moderate arsenic levels and twenty-three selected disease outcomes. Disease outcomes included several types of cancer, diseases of the circulatory and respiratory system, diabetes mellitus, and kidney and liver diseases. Arsenic data were compiled from 9251 well water samples tested by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality from 1983 through 2002. Michigan Resident Death Files data were amassed for 1979 through 1997 and sex-specific SMR analyses were conducted with indirect adjustment for age and race; 99% confidence intervals (CI) were reported.

The six county study area had a population-weighted mean arsenic concentration of 11.00 μg/L and a population-weighted median of 7.58 μg/L. SMR analyses were conducted for the entire six county study area, for only Genesee County (the most populous and urban county), and for the five counties besides Genesee. Concordance of results across analyses is used to interpret the findings. Elevated mortality rates were observed for both males (M) and females (F) for all diseases of the circulatory system (M SMR, 1.11; CI, 1.09–1.13; F SMR, 1.15; CI, 1.13,-1.17), cerebrovascular diseases (M SMR, 1.19; CI, 1.14–1.25; F SMR, 1.19; CI, 1.15–1.23), diabetes mellitus (M SMR, 1.28; CI, 1.18–1.37; F SMR, 1.27; CI, 1.19–1.35), and kidney diseases (M SMR, 1.28; CI, 1.15–1.42; F SMR, 1.38; CI, 1.25–1.52).

This is some of the first evidence to suggest that exposure to low-to-moderate levels of arsenic in drinking water may be associated with several of the leading causes of mortality, although further epidemiologic studies are required to confirm the results suggested by this ecologic SMR analysis.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 09-07-2009
Authors: Jaymie R Meliker1 , Robert L Wahl2 , Lorraine L Cameron2 and Jerome O Nriagu3
Source: Environmental Health 2 February 2007