Arsenic Exposure and Birth Outcomes in Bangladesh


Principal Investigator:
David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics

EH-Environmental+Occupational Medicine+Epi


Dates of Research:
September 24, 2007 — May 31, 2013


The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of chronic arsenic exposure on birth outcomes. Elevated arsenic concentrations have been detected in the drinking water of a number of countries. However, Bangladesh has been the most affected. An estimated 133 million Bangladeshis are at risk of drinking arsenic contaminated drinking water. One environmental survey reported that 56% of the water samples tested had arsenic concentrations exceeding the World Health Organization drinking water guideline of 10½g/L and 37% exceeded the Bangladesh (and current US) drinking water standard of 50½g/L. Population-based epidemiologic studies have linked chronic exposure to elevated arsenic concentrations with a range of conditions, including skin lesions, skin cancer, internal organ cancers, neurological effects, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease. However, there have not been studies that have investigated the effects of chronic arsenic exposure on birth outcomes using biomarkers of both exposure and effect at a wide range of drinking water arsenic exposure.