Increased Childhood Mortality and Arsenic in Drinking Water in Matlab, Bangladesh: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Rahman, Mahfuzar; Sohel, Nazmul; Yunus, Mohammad; Chowdhury, Mahbub Elahi; Hore, Samar Kumar; Zaman, Khalequ; Bhuiya, Abbas; Streatfield, Peter Kim

Background: Arsenic in drinking water was associated with increased risk of all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular death in adults. However, the extent to which exposure is related to all-cause and deaths from cancer and cardiovascular condition in young age is unknown. Therefore, we prospectively assessed whether long-term and recent arsenic exposures are associated with all-cause and cancer and cardiovascular mortalities in Bangladeshi childhood population.
Methods and Findings: We assembled a cohort of 58406 children aged 5–18 years from the Health and Demographic Surveillance System of icddrb in Bangladesh and followed during 2003–2010. There were 185 non-accidental deaths registered in-about 0.4 million person-years of observation. We calculated hazard ratios for cause-specific death in relation to exposure at baseline (µg/L), time-weighted lifetime average (µg/L) and cumulative concentration (µg-years/L). After adjusting covariates, hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause childhood deaths comparing lifetime average exposure 10–50.0, 50.1–150.0, 150.1–300.0 and ≥300.1µg/L were 1.37 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74–2.57), 1.44 (95% CI, 0.88–2.38), 1.22 (95% CI, 0.75–1.98) and 1.88 (95% CI, 1.14–3.10) respectively. Significant increased risk was also observed for baseline (P for trend = 0.023) and cumulative exposure categories (P for trend = 0.036). Girls had higher mortality risk compared to boys (HR for girls 1.79, 1.21, 1.64, 2.31; HR for boys 0.52, 0.53, 1.14, 0.99) in relation to baseline exposure. For all cancers and cardiovascular deaths combined, multivariable adjusted HRs amounted to 1.53 (95% CI 0.51–4.57); 1.29 (95% CI 0.43–3.87); 2.18 (95%CI 1.15–4.16) for 10.0–50.0, 50.1–150.0, and ≥150.1, comparing lowest exposure as reference (P for trend = 0.009). Adolescents had higher mortality risk compared to children (HRs = 1.53, 95% CI 1.03–2.28 vs. HRs = 1.30, 95% CI 0.78–2.17).
Conclusions: Arsenic exposure was associated with substantial increased risk of deaths at young age from all-cause, and cancers and cardiovascular conditions. Girls and adolescents (12–18 years) had higher risk compared to boys and child.


Also Published In

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
July 11, 2013