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Deadly effect of arsenic in drinking water measured in massive study
Date:6/18/2010

uideline was combined, 21.4 percent of all deaths and 23.5 percent of deaths from chronic disease could be attributed to arsenic exposure, the authors wrote.

An ongoing expansion of the HEALS project to 20,000 subjects hopes to clarify the deleterious effects of the lower doses, which are similar to the levels found in the groundwater of some regions in the United States, Argentina, Mexico and other countries.

"With a larger population, we can make much more definitive conclusions on whether this low dose exposure between 10 to 150 micrograms that some US populations have been exposed to are indeed deleterious, increasing cancer or even deaths," Ahsan said.

The study found no reduction in mortality risk for subjects with high baseline arsenic levels that were subsequently lowered in follow-up measurements. That suggests that the effects of chronic exposure to high levels of arsenic are not reduced even when the individual is given access to cleaner drinking water at least not during the time surveyed by the study.

"This says that further exposure to arsenic for those individuals already exposed needs to be reduced immediately if possible," Ahsan said. "Unfortunately in a developing country such as Bangladesh, the real solution of replacing the source of drinking water from contaminated to safe water sources for 50 million people is quite a task. What is needed is for the government and international community to deal with that challenge."


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Contact: Robert Mitchum
robert.mitchum@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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