In epidemiologic studies, high-chronic arsenic exposure has been associated with cardiovascular disease, despite methodological limitations. At low-moderate arsenic levels, the evidence was inconclusive. Here, we update a previous systematic review (Am J Epidemiol 2005;162: 1037–49) examining the association between arsenic exposure and cardiovascular disease. Eighteen studies published since 2005 were combined with 13 studies from the previous review. We calculated pooled relative risks by comparing the highest versus the lowest exposure category across studies. For high exposure (arsenic in drinking water > 50 μg/L), the pooled relative risks (95 % confidence interval) for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease were 1.32 (95 % CI: 1.05–1.67), 1.89 (95 % CI: 1.33–2.69), 1.08 (95 % CI: 0.98–1.19), and 2.17 (95 % CI: 1.47–3.20), respectively. At low-moderate arsenic levels, the evidence was inconclusive. Our review strengthens the evidence for a causal association between high-chronic arsenic exposure and clinical cardiovascular endpoints. Additional high quality studies are needed at low-moderate arsenic levels.
Arsenic; Cardiovascular disease; Meta-analysis; Systematic review
This study evaluated the association of arsenic exposure, as measured in urine, with diabetes prevalence, glycated hemoglobin, and insulin resistance in American Indian adults from Arizona, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota (1989–1991). We studied 3,925 men and women 45–74 years of age with available urine arsenic measures. Diabetes was defined as a fasting glucose level of 126 mg/dL or higher, a 2-hour glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher, a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 6.5% or higher, or diabetes treatment. Median urine arsenic concentration was 14.1 µg/L (interquartile range, 7.9–24.2). Diabetes prevalence was 49.4%. After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, diabetes risk factors, and urine creatinine, the prevalence ratio of diabetes comparing the 75th versus 25th percentiles of total arsenic concentrations was 1.14 (95% confidence interval: 1.08, 1.21). The association between arsenic and diabetes was restricted to participants with poor diabetes control (HbA1c ≥8%). Arsenic was positively associated with HbA1c levels in participants with diabetes. Arsenic was not associated with HbA1c or with insulin resistance (assessed by homeostatic model assessment to quantify insulin resistance) in participants without diabetes. Urine arsenic was associated with diabetes control in a population from rural communities in the United States with a high burden of diabetes. Prospective studies that evaluate the direction of the relation between poor diabetes control and arsenic exposure are needed.
American Indians; arsenic; diabetes; glycated hemoglobin; insulin resistance
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air) was initiated in 2004 to investigate the relation between individual-level estimates of long-term air pollution exposure and the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). MESA Air builds on a multicenter, community-based US study of CVD, supplementing that study with additional participants, outcome measurements, and state-of-the-art air pollution exposure assessments of fine particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and black carbon. More than 7,000 participants aged 45–84 years are being followed for over 10 years for the identification and characterization of CVD events, including acute myocardial infarction and other coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and congestive heart failure; cardiac procedures; and mortality. Subcohorts undergo baseline and follow-up measurements of coronary artery calcium using computed tomography and carotid artery intima-medial wall thickness using ultrasonography. This cohort provides vast exposure heterogeneity in ranges currently experienced and permitted in most developed nations, and the air monitoring and modeling methods employed will provide individual estimates of exposure that incorporate residence-specific infiltration characteristics and participant-specific time-activity patterns. The overarching study aim is to understand and reduce uncertainty in health effect estimation regarding long-term exposure to air pollution and CVD.
air pollution; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular diseases; environmental exposure; epidemiologic methods; particulate matter
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco product constituents, including menthol, if the scientific evidence indicates harm. Few studies, however, have evaluated the health effects of menthol cigarette use.
To investigate associations of cigarette smoking and menthol cigarette use with all-cause, cancer and cardiovascular risk in U.S. adults.
We studied 10,289 adults ≥ 20 years of age who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999-2004 and were followed through December 2006. We also identified studies comparing risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer for menthol and nonmenthol cigarette smokers and estimates were pooled using random-effects models.
Fifty-five percent of participants were never smokers compared to 23%, 17% and 5% of former, current nonmenthol and current menthol cigarette smokers, respectively. The adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) for former, current nonmenthol and current menthol cigarette smokers compared to never smokers were 1.24 (0.96, 1.62), 2.40 (1.56, 3.71) and 2.07 (1.20, 3.58), respectively, for all-cause mortality; 0.92 (0.62, 1.37), 2.10 (1.02, 4.31) and 3.48 (1.52, 7.99) for cardiovascular mortality; and 1.91 (1.21, 3.00), 3.82 (2.19, 6.68) and 2.03 (1.00, 4.13) for cancer mortality. Using data from 3 studies of all-cause mortality, 5 of cardiovascular disease and 13 of cancer, the pooled relative risks (95% CI) comparing menthol cigarette smokers to nonmenthol cigarette smokers was 0.94 (0.85, 1.05) for all-cause mortality, 1.28 (0.91, 1.80) for cardiovascular disease and 0.84 (0.76, 0.92) for any cancer.
In a representative sample of U.S. adults, menthol cigarette smoking was associated with increased all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality with no differences compared to nonmenthol cigarettes. In the systematic review, menthol cigarette use was associated with inverse risk of cancer compared to nonmenthol cigarette use with some evidence of an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
In the absence of comprehensive smoking bans in public places, bars and nightclubs have the highest concentrations of secondhand tobacco smoke, posing a serious health risk for workers in these venues.
To assess exposure of bar and nightclub employees to secondhand smoke, including non-smoking and smoking employees.
Between 2007 and 2009, we recruited approximately 10 venues per city and up to 5 employees per venue in 24 cities in the Americas, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Air nicotine concentrations were measured for 7 days in 238 venues. To evaluate personal exposure to secondhand smoke, hair nicotine concentrations were also measured for 625 non-smoking and 311 smoking employees (N=936).
Median (interquartile range [IQR]) air nicotine concentrations were 3.5 (1.5, 8.5) µg/m3 and 0.2 (0.1, 0.7) µg/m3 in smoking and smoke-free venues, respectively. Median (IQR) hair nicotine concentrations were 6.0 (1.6, 16.0) ng/mg and 1.7 (0.5, 5.5) ng/mg in smoking and non-smoking employees, respectively. After adjustment for age, sex, education, living with a smoker, hair treatment and region, a 2-fold increase in air nicotine concentrations was associated with a 30% (95% confidence interval 23%, 38%) increase in hair nicotine concentrations in non-smoking employees and with a 10% (2%, 19%) increase in smoking employees.
Occupational exposure to secondhand smoke, assessed by air nicotine, resulted in elevated concentrations of hair nicotine among non-smoking and smoking bar and nightclub employees. The high levels of airborne nicotine found in bars and nightclubs and the contribution of this exposure to employee hair nicotine concentrations support the need for legislation measures that ensure complete protection from secondhand smoke in these venues.
nicotine; tobacco smoke pollution; workplace
Background: The role of environmental exposure to lead as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its progression remains controversial, and most studies have been limited by a lack of direct glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measurement.
Objective: We evaluated the association between lead exposure and GFR in children with CKD.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we examined the association between blood lead levels (BLLs) and GFR measured by the plasma disappearance of iohexol among 391 participants in the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) prospective cohort study.
Results: Median BLL and GFR were 1.2 µg/dL and 44.4 mL/min per 1.73 m2, respectively. The average percent change in GFR for each 1-µg/dL increase in BLL was –2.1 (95% CI: –6.0, 1.8). In analyses stratified by CKD diagnosis, the association between BLL and GFR was stronger among children with glomerular disease underlying CKD; in this group, each 1-µg/dL increase in BLL was associated with a –12.1 (95% CI: –22.2, –1.9) percent change in GFR. In analyses stratified by anemia status, each 1-µg/dL increase in BLL among those with and without anemia was associated with a –0.3 (95% CI: –7.2, 6.6) and –4.6 (95% CI: –8.9, –0.3) percent change in GFR, respectively.
Conclusions: There was no significant association between BLL and directly measured GFR in this relatively large cohort of children with CKD, although associations were observed in some subgroups. Longitudinal analyses are needed to examine the temporal relationship between lead and GFR decline, and to further examine the impact of underlying cause of CKD and anemia/hemoglobin status among patients with CKD.
children; chronic kidney disease; kidney; lead; nephrotoxicity; pediatric
Chronic, high-level lead exposure is a known risk factor for kidney disease. The effect of current low-level environmental lead exposure is less well known, particularly among children, a population generally free from kidney disease risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the association between lead exposure and kidney function in a representative sample of US adolescents.
Participants included 769 adolescents aged 12 to 20 years for whom whole blood lead and serum cystatin C were measured in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 1988–1994. The association between blood lead level and level of kidney function (glomerular filtration rate [GFR]), determined by cystatin C–based and creatinine-based estimating equations, was examined.
Median whole blood lead level was 1.5 μg/dL (to convert to micromoles per liter, multiply by 0.0483), and median cystatin C–estimated GFR was 112.9 mL/min/1.73 m2. Participants with lead levels in the highest quartile (≥3.0 μg/dL) had 6.6 mL/min/1.73 m2–lower estimated GFR (95% confidence interval, −0.7 to −12.6 mL/min/1.73 m2) compared with those in the first quartile (<1 μg/dL). A doubling of blood lead level was associated with a 2.9 mL/min/1.73 m2–lower estimated GFR (95% confidence interval, −0.7 to −5.0 mL/min/1.73 m2). Lead levels were also associated with lower creatinine-based estimated GFR levels, but the association was weaker than with cystatin C–based GFR and not statistically significant.
Higher blood lead levels in a range below the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–designated level of concern (10 μg/dL) were associated with lower estimated GFRs in a representative sample of US adolescents. This finding contributes to the increasing epidemiologic evidence indicating an adverse effect of low-level environmental lead exposure.
Uric acid is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk factors in adults, including chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, preeclampsia, and hypertension. We examined the association between uric acid and elevated blood pressure in a large, nationally representative cohort of U.S. adolescents, a population with a relatively low prevalence of CVD and CVD risk factors. Among 6,036 adolescents 12-17 years of age examined in the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) the mean age was 14.5 years, 17% were obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥95th percentile), and 3.3% had elevated blood pressure. Mean serum uric acid level was 5.0 mg/dL and 34% had a uric acid level ≥5.5 mg/dL. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity and BMI percentile, the odds ratio of elevated blood pressure, defined as a systolic or diastolic blood pressure ≥95th percentile for age, sex and height, for each 0.1 mg/dL increase in uric acid level was 1.38 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 1.65). Compared to <5.5 mg/dL, participants with a uric acid level ≥5.5 mg/dL had a 2.03 times higher odds of having elevated blood pressure (95% CI, 1.38 to 3.00). In conclusion, increasing levels of serum uric acid are associated with elevated blood pressure in healthy U.S. adolescents. Additional prospective studies and clinical trials are needed to determine if uric acid is merely a marker in a complex metabolic pathway, or causal of hypertension and thus a potential screening and therapeutic target.
uric acid; hypertension; essential; blood pressure; adolescents; children; cross-sectional studies; NHANES
Background: Inorganic arsenic (iAs) causes cancer and possibly other adverse health outcomes. Arsenic-based drugs are permitted in poultry production; however, the contribution of chicken consumption to iAs intake is unknown.
Objectives: We sought to characterize the arsenic species profile in chicken meat and estimate bladder and lung cancer risk associated with consuming chicken produced with arsenic-based drugs.
Methods: Conventional, antibiotic-free, and organic chicken samples were collected from grocery stores in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas from December 2010 through June 2011. We tested 116 raw and 142 cooked chicken samples for total arsenic, and we determined arsenic species in 65 raw and 78 cooked samples that contained total arsenic at ≥ 10 µg/kg dry weight.
Results: The geometric mean (GM) of total arsenic in cooked chicken meat samples was 3.0 µg/kg (95% CI: 2.5, 3.6). Among the 78 cooked samples that were speciated, iAs concentrations were higher in conventional samples (GM = 1.8 µg/kg; 95% CI: 1.4, 2.3) than in antibiotic-free (GM = 0.7 µg/kg; 95% CI: 0.5, 1.0) or organic (GM = 0.6 µg/kg; 95% CI: 0.5, 0.8) samples. Roxarsone was detected in 20 of 40 conventional samples, 1 of 13 antibiotic-free samples, and none of the 25 organic samples. iAs concentrations in roxarsone-positive samples (GM = 2.3 µg/kg; 95% CI: 1.7, 3.1) were significantly higher than those in roxarsone-negative samples (GM = 0.8 µg/kg; 95% CI: 0.7, 1.0). Cooking increased iAs and decreased roxarsone concentrations. We estimated that consumers of conventional chicken would ingest an additional 0.11 µg/day iAs (in an 82-g serving) compared with consumers of organic chicken. Assuming lifetime exposure and a proposed cancer slope factor of 25.7 per milligram per kilogram of body weight per day, this increase in arsenic exposure could result in 3.7 additional lifetime bladder and lung cancer cases per 100,000 exposed persons.
Conclusions: Conventional chicken meat had higher iAs concentrations than did conventional antibiotic-free and organic chicken meat samples. Cessation of arsenical drug use could reduce exposure and the burden of arsenic-related disease in chicken consumers.
antimicrobial; arsenic; chicken; FDA; Food and Drug Administration; nitarsone; poultry; roxarsone
Background: Arsenic (III) methyltransferase (AS3MT) has been related to urine arsenic metabolites in association studies. Other genes might also play roles in arsenic metabolism and excretion.
Objective: We evaluated genetic determinants of urine arsenic metabolites in American Indian adults from the Strong Heart Study (SHS).
Methods: We evaluated heritability of urine arsenic metabolites [percent inorganic arsenic (%iAs), percent monomethylarsonate (%MMA), and percent dimethylarsinate (%DMA)] in 2,907 SHS participants with urine arsenic measurements and at least one relative within the cohort. We conducted a preliminary linkage analysis in a subset of 487 participants with available genotypes on approximately 400 short tandem repeat markers using a general pedigree variance component approach for localizing quantitative trait loci (QTL).
Results: The medians (interquartile ranges) for %iAs, %MMA, and %DMA were 7.7% (5.4–10.7%), 13.6% (10.5–17.1%), and 78.4% (72.5–83.1%), respectively. The estimated heritability was 53% for %iAs, 50% for %MMA, and 59% for %DMA. After adjustment for sex, age, smoking, body mass index, alcohol consumption, region, and total urine arsenic concentrations, LOD [logarithm (to the base of 10) of the odds] scores indicated suggestive evidence for genetic linkage with QTLs influencing urine arsenic metabolites on chromosomes 5 (LOD = 2.03 for %iAs), 9 (LOD = 2.05 for %iAs and 2.10 for %MMA), and 11 (LOD = 1.94 for %iAs). A peak for %DMA on chromosome 10 within 2 Mb of AS3MT had an LOD of 1.80.
Conclusions: This population-based family study in American Indian communities supports a genetic contribution to variation in the distribution of arsenic metabolites in urine and, potentially, the involvement of genes other than AS3MT.
American Indians; arsenic metabolism; arsenic species; determinants; heritability; linkage scan; Strong Heart Study
Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is influenced by norms and regulations, socioeconomic status and immediate personal interactions. SHS exposure may occur in various settings, including the living space, workplace, and other social environments. This study examines the association between exposure to SHS and nicotine dependence among smokers.
A cross-sectional sample of 246 Black (60% male and 40% female) current smokers age 40 and older, from Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C, responded to an interviewer-administered questionnaire. We examined nicotine dependence using clinical guidelines based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Text Revision (2000). We performed multivariate logistic regression to assess the association between SHS and nicotine dependence.
SHS exposure in the current home environment and exposure in settings outside the home as well as difficulty to quit smoking and heaviness of smoking were associated with nicotine dependence. After adjustment for age, gender, education, income, employment status, current alcohol consumption, history of marijuana use, and number of cigarettes smoked per day; exposure to SHS at home only, and in both current home environments and other settings, continued to be associated with clinically-defined levels nicotine dependence (OR = 2.25; 95% CI 1.05, 4.86 vs. OR = 2.31; 95% CI 1.03, 5.18), respectively.
These findings highlight the relative importance of examining SHS exposure in personal (residential and automobile) and public (workplace and outdoor) settings by current smokers. Promotion of smoke-free environments may reduce the prevalence of nicotine dependence among current smokers.
Tobacco-related disparities; clinical nicotine dependence; secondhand smoke (SHS); smoking ban
Background: Diabetes affects an estimated 346 million persons globally, and total deaths from diabetes are projected to increase > 50% in the next decade. Understanding the role of environmental chemicals in the development or progression of diabetes is an emerging issue in environmental health. In 2011, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) organized a workshop to assess the literature for evidence of associations between certain chemicals, including inorganic arsenic, and diabetes and/or obesity to help develop a focused research agenda. This review is derived from discussions at that workshop.
Objectives: Our objectives were to assess the consistency, strength/weaknesses, and biological plausibility of findings in the scientific literature regarding arsenic and diabetes and to identify data gaps and areas for future evaluation or research. The extent of the existing literature was insufficient to consider obesity as an outcome.
Data Sources, Extraction, and Synthesis: Studies related to arsenic and diabetes or obesity were identified through PubMed and supplemented with relevant studies identified by reviewing the reference lists in the primary literature or review articles.
Conclusions: Existing human data provide limited to sufficient support for an association between arsenic and diabetes in populations with relatively high exposure levels (≥ 150 µg arsenic/L in drinking water). The evidence is insufficient to conclude that arsenic is associated with diabetes in lower exposure (< 150 µg arsenic/L drinking water), although recent studies with better measures of outcome and exposure support an association. The animal literature as a whole was inconclusive; however, studies using better measures of diabetes-relevant end points support a link between arsenic and diabetes.
animal; arsenic toxicity; cell line; chemically induced/epidemiology; cultured cell; diabetes; environmental epidemiology; glucose; insulin; metabolism; obesity
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxin primarily found in seafood; exposures in reproductive-age women are of concern due to vulnerability of the developing fetus. MeHg is mainly eliminated via an enterohepatic cycle involving the liver and gallbladder. Dysfunction in these organs has been associated with slower MeHg elimination in laboratory animals. We hypothesized that women testing positive for chronic hepatitis B (HBV) or C (HCV), both associated with risk of longer-term liver and gallbladder impairment, would have higher total blood mercury (TBHg) concentrations than those negative for the viruses, reflecting slower MeHg elimination.
Geometric mean (GM) TBHg levels from a representative sample of over 5,000 seafood-consuming, reproductive-age women from eight years (2001–2008) of the US NHANES survey were compared by viral hepatitis status (as determined by serological assay) using multiple linear regression. Adjustment was made for estimated MeHg intake from seafood consumption, social and demographic variables and other predictors.
Women with chronic HBV had 1.52 (95% CI 1.13, 2.05, p < 0.01) times the GM TBHg of women who had not come into contact with the virus. The positive association was strongest in those with most severe disease. A modest negative association was found with HCV markers.
While study design prevents inferences on causality, the finding that MeHg biomarkers differ by hepatitis status in this population suggests viral hepatitis may alter the pace of MeHg elimination. Offspring of HBV-infected seafood-consuming women may be at higher risk of MeHg-induced developmental delays than offspring of those uninfected. Possible reasons for the unanticipated negative association with HCV are explored.
Biomonitoring; Developmental neurotoxicity; Hepatitis; Mercury; NHANES; Reproductive-age women; Seafood; Susceptibility
Background. Low-level lead exposure is widespread and has been implicated as a chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk factor. However, studies evaluating associations of lead dose with newer, potentially more accurate, estimates of kidney function, in participants with a wide range of glomerular filtration rates (GFRs), are scarce.
Methods. We compared associations of blood lead and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD), Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) and cystatin C single variable, multivariable and combined creatinine/cystatin C equations in 3941 adults who participated in the 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cystatin C subsample.
Results. Geometric mean blood lead was 1.7 μg/dL. After multivariable adjustment, differences [95% confidence interval (CI)] in mean eGFR for a doubling of blood lead were −1.9 (−3.2, −0.7), −1.7 (−3.0, −0.5) and −1.4 (−2.3, −0.5) mL/min/1.73 m2, using the cystatin C single variable, multivariable and combined creatinine/cystatin C equations, respectively, reflecting lower eGFR with increased blood lead. The corresponding differences (95% CI) were −0.9 (−1.9, 0.02) and −0.9 (−1.8, 0.01) using the creatinine-based MDRD and CKD-EPI equations, respectively. In participants aged ≥60 years, differences in mean eGFR ranged from −3.0 to −4.5 mL/min/1.73 m2, and odds of reduced eGFR (<60 mL/min/1.73 m2) were increased for all estimates of GFR.
Conclusions. These results support the inclusion of cystatin C-based eGFR in future lead research and provide additional evidence for environmental lead exposure as a CKD risk factor.
blood lead; kidney function; lead exposure; NHANES
High chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic may contribute to the development of hypertension. Limited information is available, however, on the association of low to moderate exposure to inorganic arsenic with blood pressure levels and hypertension. We investigated the association of exposure to inorganic arsenic (as measured in urine) with systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and the prevalence of hypertension in U.S. adults.
We studied 4167 adults 20 years of age or older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 through 2008 and for whom total arsenic, dimethylarsinate (DMA) and arsenobetaine had been assessed in urine.
The median (inter-quartile range) urine concentrations were 8.3 μg/L (4.2– 17.1) for total arsenic, 3.6 μg/L (2.0– 6.0) for DMA and 1.4 μg/L (0.3– 6.3) for arsenobetaine. The weighted prevalence of hypertension in the study population was 36%. After multivariable adjustment, a 2-fold increase in total arsenic was associated with a hypertension odds ratio of 0.98 (95% confidence interval = 0.86 to 1.11). A doubling of total arsenic minus arsenobetaine was associated with a hypertension OR of 1.03 (0.94 to 1.14) and a doubling of DMA concentrations was associated with a hypertension OR of 1.11 (0.99 to 1.24). Total arsenic, total arsenic minus arsenobetaine, or DMA levels were not associated with systolic or diastolic blood pressure.
At the low to moderate levels typical of the U.S. population, total arsenic, total arsenic minus arsenobetaine, and DMA concentrations in urine were not associated with the prevalence of hypertension or with systolic or diastolic blood pressure levels. A weak association of DMA with hypertension could not be ruled out.
Background: Urine cadmium concentrations were associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in men in the 1988–1994 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) population. Since 1988, cadmium exposure has decreased substantially in the United States. The associations between blood and urine cadmium and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality at more recent levels of exposure are unknown.
Objectives: We evaluated the prospective association of blood and urine cadmium concentrations with all-cause and CVD mortality in the 1999–2004 U.S. population.
Methods: We followed 8,989 participants who were ≥ 20 years of age for an average of 4.8 years. Hazard ratios for mortality end points comparing the 80th to the 20th percentiles of cadmium distributions were estimated using Cox regression.
Results: The multivariable adjusted hazard ratios [95% confidence intervals (CIs)] for blood and urine cadmium were 1.50 (95% CI: 1.07, 2.10) and 1.52 (95% CI: 1.00, 2.29), respectively, for all-cause mortality, 1.69 (95% CI: 1.03, 2.77) and 1.74 (95% CI: 1.07, 2.83) for CVD mortality, 1.98 (95% CI: 1.11, 3.54) and 2.53 (95% CI: 1.54, 4.16) for heart disease mortality, and 1.73 (95% CI: 0.88, 3.40) and 2.09 (95% CI: 1.06, 4.13) for coronary heart disease mortality. The population attributable risks associated with the 80th percentile of the blood (0.80 μg/L) and urine (0.57 μg/g) cadmium distributions were 7.0 and 8.8%, respectively, for all-cause mortality and 7.5 and 9.2%, respectively, for CVD mortality
Conclusions: We found strongly suggestive evidence that cadmium, at substantially low levels of exposure, remains an important determinant of all-cause and CVD mortality in a representative sample of U.S. adults. Efforts to further reduce cadmium exposure in the population could contribute to a substantial decrease in CVD disease burden.
cadmium; cardiovascular disease; mortality; NHANES; survey
Exposure to high inorganic arsenic concentrations in drinking water has been related to detrimental health effects, including cancers and possibly cardiovascular disease, in many epidemiological studies. Recent studies suggest that arsenic might elicit some of its toxic effects also at lower concentrations. The Strong Heart Study, a large epidemiological study of cardiovascular disease in American Indian communities, collected urine samples and performed medical examinations on 4,549 participants over a 10-year period beginning in 1989. We used anion-exchange HPLC/ICPMS to determine concentrations of arsenic species (methylarsonate, dimethylarsinate and arsenate) in 5,095 urine samples from the Strong Heart Study. We repeated the chromatography on a portion of the urine sample that had been oxidised, by addition of H2O2, to provide additional information on the presence of As(III) species and thio-arsenicals, and by difference, of arsenobetaine and other non-retained cations. Total concentrations for As, Cd, Mo, Pb, Sb, Se, U, W, and Zn were also determined in the urine samples by ICPMS. The dataset will be used to evaluate the relationships between the concentrations of urinary arsenic species and selected metals with various cardiometabolic health endpoints. We present and discuss the analytical protocol put in place to produce this large and valuable dataset.
Background: Environmental exposure to arsenic has been linked to hypertension in persons living in arsenic-endemic areas.
Objective: We summarized published epidemiologic studies concerning arsenic exposure and hypertension or blood pressure (BP) measurements to evaluate the potential relationship.
Data sources and extraction: We searched PubMed, Embase, and TOXLINE and applied predetermined exclusion criteria. We identified 11 cross-sectional studies from which we abstracted or derived measures of association and calculated pooled odds ratios (ORs) using inverse-variance weighted random-effects models.
Data synthesis: The pooled OR for hypertension comparing the highest and lowest arsenic exposure categories was 1.27 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09, 1.47; p-value for heterogeneity = 0.001; I2 = 70.2%]. In populations with moderate to high arsenic concentrations in drinking water, the pooled OR was 1.15 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.37; p-value for heterogeneity = 0.002; I2 = 76.6%) and 2.57 (95% CI: 1.56, 4.24; p-value for heterogeneity = 0.13; I2 = 46.6%) before and after excluding an influential study, respectively. The corresponding pooled OR in populations with low arsenic concentrations in drinking water was 1.56 (95% CI: 1.21, 2.01; p-value for heterogeneity = 0.27; I2 = 24.6%). A dose–response assessment including six studies with available data showed an increasing trend in the odds of hypertension with increasing arsenic exposure. Few studies have evaluated changes in systolic and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP, respectively) measurements by arsenic exposure levels, and those studies reported inconclusive findings.
Conclusion: In this systematic review we identified an association between arsenic and the prevalence of hypertension. Interpreting a causal effect of environmental arsenic on hypertension is limited by the small number of studies, the presence of influential studies, and the absence of prospective evidence. Additional evidence is needed to evaluate the dose–response relationship between environmental arsenic exposure and hypertension.
arsenic; blood pressure; hypertension; meta-analysis; systematic review
Background: Public health policies such as tobacco control, air pollution reduction, and hazardous waste remediation may have reduced cadmium exposure among U.S. adults. However, trends in urine cadmium, a marker of cumulative cadmium exposure, have not been evaluated.
Objectives: We estimated the trends in urine cadmium concentrations in U.S. adults using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 1988 to 2008. We also evaluated the impact of changes in the distribution of available cadmium determinants (age, sex, race, education, body mass index, smoking, and occupation) at the population level to explain cadmium trends.
Methods: The study population included 19,759 adults ≥ 20 years of age with measures of urine cadmium and cadmium determinants.
Results: Age-adjusted geometric means of urine cadmium concentrations were 0.36, 0.35, 0.27, 0.27, 0.28, 0.25, and 0.26 µg/g creatinine in 1988–1991, 1991–1994, 1999–2000, 2001–2002, 2003–2004, 2005–2006, and 2007–2008, respectively. The age, sex, and race/ethnicity-adjusted percent reduction in urine cadmium geometric means comparing 1999–2002 and 2003–2008 with 1988–1994 were 27.8% (95% confidence interval: 22.3%, 32.9%) and 34.3% (29.9%, 38.4%), respectively (p-trend < 0.001), with reductions in all participant subgroups investigated. In never smokers, reductions in serum cotinine accounted for 15.6% of the observed reduction. In ever smokers, changes in smoking cessation, and cumulative and recent dose accounted for 17.1% of the observed reduction.
Conclusions: Urine cadmium concentrations decreased markedly between 1988 and 2008. Declining smoking rates and changes in exposure to tobacco smoke may have played an important role in the decline of urine cadmium concentrations, benefiting both smokers and nonsmokers. Cadmium has been associated to several health outcomes in NHANES 1999–2008. Consequently, despite the observed decline, further reduction in cadmium exposure is needed.
cadmium; cigarette smoking; determinants; NHANES; trends
Seafood is the main source of organic arsenic exposure (arsenobetaine, arsenosugars and arsenolipids) in the population. Arsenosugars and arsenolipids are metabolized to several species including dimethylarsinate (DMA).
Evaluate the association of seafood intake with spot urine arsenic concentrations in the 2003–2006 National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey (NHANES).
We studied 4276 participants ≥6 y. Total arsenic was measured using inductively coupled plasma dynamic reaction cell mass spectrometry (ICPMS). Urine DMA and arsenobetaine were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with ICPMS.
Participants reporting seafood in the past 24-h had higher urine concentrations of total arsenic (median 24.5 vs. 7.3 µg/L), DMA (6.0 vs. 3.5 µg/L), arsenobetaine (10.2 vs. 0.9 µg/L) and total arsenic minus arsenobetaine (11.0 vs. 5.5 µg/L). Participants reporting seafood ≥2/wk vs. never during the past year had 2.3 (95% confidence interval 1.9, 2.7), 1.4 (1.2, 1.6), 6.0 (4.6, 7.8) and 1.7 (1.4, 2.0) times higher (p-trend <0.001) concentrations of total arsenic, DMA, arsenobetaine and total arsenic minus arsenobetaine, respectively. In participants without detectable arsenobetaine and in analyses adjusted for arsenobetaine, seafood consumption in the past year was not associated with total arsenic or DMA concentrations in urine.
Seafood intake was a major determinant of increased urine concentrations of total arsenic, DMA, arsenobetaine and total arsenic minus arsenobetaine in the US population. Epidemiologic studies that use total arsenic, DMA, the sum of inorganic arsenic, methylarsonate and DMA, and total arsenic minus arsenobetaine as markers of inorganic arsenic exposure and/or metabolism need to address seafood intake.
arsenic; arsenobetaine; dimethylarsinate; NHANES; seafood
Background: Cadmium is a nephrotoxicant at high exposure levels. Few studies have evaluated the role of cadmium in kidney function at low-exposure levels.
Objective: We evaluated the association of blood cadmium with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in the Korean adult population.
Methods: We evaluated 1,909 adults ≥ 20 years of age who participated in the 2005 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and had blood cadmium determinations. eGFR was calculated using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation.
Results: Blood cadmium geometric means were 1.57 μg/L for men and 1.49 μg/L for women. The difference in eGFR levels that compared participants in the highest versus lowest cadmium tertiles, after multivariable adjustment, was –1.85 [95% confidence interval (CI): –3.55, –0.16] mL/min per 1.73 m2 in women and 0.67 (–1.16, 2.50) mL/min per 1.73 m2 in men. Among men, the association between blood cadmium and eGFR was modified by blood lead levels (p-value for interaction = 0.048). The fully adjusted differences in eGFR levels for a 2-fold increase in blood cadmium levels were –1.14 (–3.35, 1.07) and 1.84 (0.54, 3.14) mL/min per 1.73 m2 in men with blood lead levels below and above the median (2.75 μg/dL), respectively.
Conclusion: Elevated blood cadmium levels were associated with lower eGFR in women, which supports the role of cadmium as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease. In men, there was no overall association, although elevated blood cadmium levels were associated with higher eGFR levels in men with high blood lead levels and nonstatistically associated with lower eGFR levels in men with low blood lead levels.
cadmium; chronic kidney disease; glomerular filtration rate; Korean; survey
Gender differences in the association of blood and urine cadmium concentrations with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) were evaluated by using data from 6,456 US adults aged ≥40 years who participated in the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. PAD was defined as an ankle-brachial blood pressure index of <0.9 in at least one leg. For men, the adjusted odds ratios for PAD comparing the highest with the lowest quintiles of blood and urine cadmium concentrations were 1.82 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.82, 4.05) and 4.90 (95% CI: 1.55, 15.54), respectively, with a progressive dose-response relation and no difference by smoking status. For women, the corresponding odds ratios were 1.19 (95% CI: 0.66, 2.16) and 0.56 (95% CI: 0.18, 1.71), but there was evidence of effect modification by smoking: among women ever smokers, there was a positive, progressive dose-response relation; among women never smokers, there was a U-shaped dose-response relation. Higher blood and urine cadmium levels were associated with increased prevalence of PAD, but women never smokers showed a U-shaped relation with increased prevalence of PAD at very low cadmium levels. These findings add to the concern of increased cadmium exposure as a cardiovascular risk factor in the general population.
cadmium; health surveys; metals; peripheral vascular diseases; sex characteristics
High selenium has been recently associated with several cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors including diabetes, blood pressure and lipid levels. We evaluated the association of serum selenium with fasting serum lipid levels in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004, the most recently available representative sample of the US population that measured selenium levels.
Cross-sectional analysis of 1159 adults ≥40 years old from NHANES 2003–2004. Serum selenium was measured by inductively coupled plasma-dynamic reaction cell-mass spectrometry. Fasting serum total-cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol were measured enzymatically and LDL cholesterol was calculated.
Mean serum selenium was 136.7 µg/L. The multivariable adjusted average differences (95% confidence interval) comparing the highest (≥147 µg/L) to the lowest (<124 µg/L) selenium quartiles were 18.9 (9.9, 28.0) mg/dL for total cholesterol, 12.7 (3.3, 22.2) mg/dL for LDL cholesterol, 3.9 (0.4, 7.5) mg/dL for HDL cholesterol, and 11.5 (−7.6, 30.7) mg/dL for triglycerides. In spline regression models, total and LDL cholesterol levels increased progressively with increasing selenium concentrations. HDL cholesterol increased with selenium but reached a plateau above 120 µg/L of serum selenium (20th percentile). The triglyceride-selenium relationship was U-shaped.
In US adults, high serum selenium concentrations were associated with increased serum concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol. Selenium was associated with increasing HDL cholesterol only at low selenium levels. Given increasing trends in dietary selenium intake and supplementation, the causal mechanisms underlying these associations need to be fully characterized.
Selenium; Serum Lipids; NHANES
Lead exposure is associated with elevated blood pressure during pregnancy; however, the magnitude of this relationship at low exposure levels is unclear.
Our goal was to determine the association between low-level lead exposure and blood pressure during late pregnancy.
We collected admission and maximum (based on systolic) blood pressures during labor and delivery among 285 women in Baltimore, Maryland. We measured umbilical cord blood lead using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Multivariable models were adjusted for age, race, median household income, parity, smoking during pregnancy, prepregnancy body mass index, and anemia. These models were used to calculate benchmark dose values.
Geometric mean cord blood lead was 0.66 μg/dL (95% confidence interval, 0.61–0.70). Comparing blood pressure measurements between those in the highest and those in the lowest quartile of lead exposure, we observed a 6.87-mmHg (1.51–12.21 mmHg) increase in admission systolic blood pressure and a 4.40-mmHg (0.21–8.59 mmHg) increase in admission diastolic blood pressure after adjustment for confounders. Corresponding values for maximum blood pressure increase were 7.72 (1.83–13.60) and 8.33 (1.14–15.53) mmHg. Benchmark dose lower limit values for a 1-SD increase in blood pressure were < 2 μg/dL blood lead for all blood pressure end points.
A significant association between low-level lead exposures and elevations in maternal blood pressure during labor and delivery can be observed at umbilical blood lead levels < 2 μg/dL.
benchmark dose; blood pressure; hypertension; lead; pregnancy; risk assessment; umbilical cord