Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gastronomical Delight: Micronutrients Protect against Arsenic Lesions

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gastronomical Delight: Micronutrients Protect against Arsenic Lesions

Article excerpt

Studies in South Asia suggest that antioxidants may mediate many of the dermatologic symptoms associated with exposure to arsenic in drinking water. Nonetheless, the mitigating effects of diet on arsenic-related premalignant skin lesions are largely unknown, particularly in the context of the typical Bangladeshi diet. A new cross-sectional study using baseline data from the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS), 2000-2002, is the first systematic, population-based attempt to assess the association between micro nutrient intake and the prevalence of arsenic-induced skin lesions [EHP 116:1056-1062; Zablotska et al.].

As many as a third of the people living in Bangladesh have been exposed to arsenic-tainted water levels above the national limit of 50 ppb, with many levels as high as 800 ppb. Several studies have shown an association between drinking arsenic-rich water and development of skin lesions, a common outward sign of chronic arsenic exposure.

HEALS is a population-based prospective cohort study in Araihazar, Bangladesh, using individual-level time-weighted measures of arsenic exposure via drinking water. The present study relied on detailed daily diet information obtained from all participants using a food frequency questionnaire along with U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional tables. The analyses were aimed at clarifying the effects of the B vitamin group and antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E) on the risk of arsenic-related skin lesions. …

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