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Study adds lung damage to harmful effects of arsenic
Date:8/22/2013

ps according to arsenic exposure, using two related measures: how much arsenic was in their drinking water and how much was in their urine.

Then, local physicians trained by pulmonologist Christopher Olopade, MD, of the University of Chicago, rigorously measured each patient's lung function using a spirometer with a focus on two standard lung-function tests: forced expiratory flow (FEV1, the amount of air a person can expel in one second) and forced vital capacity (FVC, the total volume of air exhaled after fully filling the lungs).

Both measures showed that arsenic's effects were dose-dependent. After they corrected for possible confounders, the researchers found that:

  • One-third of the participants had been exposed to the lowest arsenic levels, less than 19 parts per billion in water. They had no detectable arsenic-related loss of lung function.

  • One-third had been exposed to drinking water with a relatively low arsenic dose, 19 to 97 parts per billion. Their lung function, as measured by FEV1 and FVC, decreased slightly but was not significantly different from the group with the lowest arsenic level in water.

  • One-third were exposed to a moderate dose, more than 97 parts per billion. For this group, both spirometric variables were significantly decreased. Their FEV1 decreased by about three times as much as those exposed to 19 to 97 parts per billion and their FVC fell by about six times as much.

  • Smoking amplified the damage. About 90 percent of the men tested smoked.

"These results clearly demonstrate significant impairment of lung function associated with lower concentrations than previously reported," Ahsan said. "Those most affected were older, thinner, less educated and more likely to use tobacco. Many of these people have limited excess lung capacity. It made a significant difference in their lives."

"This suggests that a large proportion of the country's population are at i
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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5225
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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