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

  • M. R
  • N. S
  • M. Y
  • et al.
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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 (mug/L), time-weighted lifetime average (mug/L) and cumulative concentration (mug-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 >=300.1mug/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. © 2013 Rahman et al.




M., R., N., S., M., Y., M.E., C., S.K., H., K., Z., & A., B. (2013). Increased Childhood Mortality and Arsenic in Drinking Water in Matlab, Bangladesh: A Population-Based Cohort Study. PLoS ONE. M. Rahman, icddrb, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh. E-mail: Public Library of Science (185 Berry Street, Suite 1300, San Francisco CA 94107, United States). Retrieved from

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