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Prevalence of arsenic exposure and skin lesions. A population based survey in Matlab, Bangladesh.
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2006 (English)In: J Epidemiol Community Health, ISSN 0143-005X, Vol. 60, no 3, 242-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 60, no 3, 242-8 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-77563PubMedID: 16476755OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-77563DiVA: diva2:105475
Available from: 2006-03-15 Created: 2006-03-15 Last updated: 2011-01-11
In thesis
1. Epidemiological and Spatial Association between Arsenic Exposure via Drinking Water and Morbidity and Mortality: Population based studies in rural Bangladesh
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Epidemiological and Spatial Association between Arsenic Exposure via Drinking Water and Morbidity and Mortality: Population based studies in rural Bangladesh
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to evaluate the risk for increased morbidity and mortality due to long-term arsenic exposure via drinking water by use of epidemiological and spatial approaches in studies performed in Matlab, Bangladesh. A total of 166,934 individuals aged 4 years and above were screened for skin lesions in 2002-2003. Another sample of 115,903 adults aged 15 years or more and a third sample of 26,972 pregnancies in 1991-2000 were considered in a historical cohort and an ecological study, respectively, where risk of adult mortality and spatial clusters of foetal loss and infant death were analysed in relation to arsenic exposure.

More than 70% of the tube-wells in the study area exceeded the threshold for arsenic contamination according to the WHO guideline (10 µg/L). The prevalence of arsenic-induced skin lesions was 3/1000 and men had significantly higher prevalence of skin lesions (SMR 158, 95% CI: 133-188) compared to women. There was an increased risk for death in adulthood due to all non-accidental causes (hazards ratio = 1.16, [95% CI 1.06-1.26]) even at a low level of arsenic contamination (10-49 µg/L). Slightly lower risks were observed for death in cancers (1.44 [1.06-1.95]) and infectious diseases (1.30 [1.13-1.49]) at 50-149 µg/L, but for cardiovascular diseases, it was evident (1.23 [1.01-1.51]) from the level 150-299 µg/L. A dose-response relationship was observed for each of these causes.

We identified high and low risk clusters of foetal loss and infant death that coincided with identified high and low clusters of arsenic exposure.

Water arsenic concentration of the reported main water source was significantly correlated with arsenic concentration in urine, which reflects current arsenic intake from all sources (R2=0.41, ρ< 0.0001), and the influence of neighbouring water sources was minimal.

The study findings underlines that the ongoing arsenic exposure has resulted in a series of severe public health consequences in Bangladesh that call for reinforcement in the mitigation efforts. Knowledge about the spatial distribution of exposure and health effects may be of value in that process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. x, 51 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 549
Arsenic, tube-well, skin lesion, adult mortality, foetal loss, infant death, cohort, spatial model, Bangladesh
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
International Health
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121788 (URN)978-91-554-7774-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-17, Rosénsalen, Akademiska sjukhuset, 751 85 Uppsala, Ingång 95/96 nbv, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2010-04-22 Created: 2010-03-30 Last updated: 2010-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Ekström, Eva-CharlottePersson, Lars Ake
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