Arsenic May Increase Diabetes Risk

The Science Teacher, October 2008 | Go to article overview

Arsenic May Increase Diabetes Risk


Inorganic arsenic, commonly found in groundwater in certain areas, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study found that individuals with diabetes had higher levels of arsenic in the urine compared to individuals without diabetes. The results are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Our findings suggest that low levels of exposure to inorganic arsenic may play a role in diabetes," says Ana Navas-Acien, lead author of the study and assistant professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. "While prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal, these findings add to the existing concerns about the long-term health consequences of low and moderate exposure to inorganic arsenic."

Inorganic arsenic i s found naturally in rocks and soils. In the United States, most exposure to inorganic arsenic comes from contaminated drinking water. Foods such as flour and rice can also provide small quantities of inorganic arsenic, particularly if grown or cooked in areas with arsenic contamination in soil or water. …

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