Urinary and Dietary Analysis of 18,470 Bangladeshis Reveal a Correlation of Rice Consumption with Arsenic Exposure and Toxicity

Melkonian, Stephanie; Argos, Maria; Hall, Megan N.; Chen, Yu; Parvez, Faruque; Pierce, Brandon; Cao, Hongyuan; Aschebrook-Kilfoy, Briseis; Ahmed, Alauddin; Islam, Tariqul; Slavcovich, Vesna; Gamble, Mary; Haris, Parvez I.; Graziano, Joseph H.; Ahsan, Habibul

Background: We utilized data from the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS) in Araihazar, Bangladesh, to evaluate the association of steamed rice consumption with urinary total arsenic concentration and arsenical skin lesions in the overall study cohort (N=18,470) and in a subset with available urinary arsenic metabolite data (N=4,517).

Methods: General linear models with standardized beta coefficients were used to estimate associations between steamed rice consumption and urinary total arsenic concentration and urinary arsenic metabolites. Logistic regression models were used to estimate prevalence odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations between rice intake and prevalent skin lesions at baseline. Discrete time hazard models were used to estimate discrete time (HRs) ratios and their 95% CIs for the associations between rice intake and incident skin lesions.

Results: Steamed rice consumption was positively associated with creatinine-adjusted urinary total arsenic (β=0.041, 95% CI: 0.032-0.051) and urinary total arsenic with statistical adjustment for creatinine in the model (β=0.043, 95% CI: 0.032-0.053). Additionally, we observed a significant trend in skin lesion prevalence (P-trend=0.007) and a moderate trend in skin lesion incidence (P-trend=0.07) associated with increased intake of steamed rice.

Conclusions: This study suggests that rice intake may be a source of arsenic exposure beyond drinking water.

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Environmental Health Sciences
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November 4, 2016