The center, in its pilot phase, discovered that certain foods, including rice and rice products, contribute to arsenic exposure in children, and it recently reported findings of increased infection risk in children (Environmental Research, 2013) and changes in DNA in umbilical cord blood (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2013) and placental tissue, relating to low birth weight (Environmental Health, 2013), associated with in utero arsenic exposure. The Center also recently reported that diet alone can be a significant source of arsenic exposure regardless of arsenic concentrations in drinking and cooking water.
Karagas says that the center's mission is to identify and address key emerging issues related to health impacts of early life environmental exposures. "There is growing research connecting exposure early in life to a number of prevalent and life threatening diseases for children," she says. "Moreover, early life exposures and their effects also appear to extend beyond childhood."
Evidence suggests that environmental exposure may affect the development of the immune system, and in turn infant risk of emerging diseases such as allergies and asthma, she says. Diseases known or suspected to be caused by or aggravated by arsenic in drinking water include various cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.
"Additionally, risk of obesity, which has greatly increased in prevalence in both children and adults, is influenced by factors occurring early in life," says Karagas. "Therefore, if environmental contaminants increase early life growth, they will
|Contact: John Cramer|