Arsenic In Drinking Water May Increase Diabetes Risk
Even low levels of arsenic in drinking water may lead to type 2 diabetes development.
Researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University aimed at finding out how low levels of arsenic can affect public health and diabetes. They examined 788 US residents older than 20 and found that type 2 diabetes patients have 26% higher levels of arsenic in urine that diabetes-free participants.
Researchers compared people with different levels of arsenic in urine and found that those who have the highest levels of Arsenic have 3.6 times higher diabetes risk. Those with the highest levels of dimethylarsinate have 1.5 times higher risk. Researchers took into account other factors affecting diabetes risk and concluded that even low levels of arsenic pose health risks.
It was already previously known that arsenic is linked to numerous health conditions. For example, it is already proved that in Taiwan, Bangladesh and Mexico people are at higher diabetes risk and arsenic levels in these places are very high (100 micrograms per liter) compared with US (10 micrograms per liter). The arsenic and diabetes link is clear in case of high levels, now it also becomes clear that even low levels of arsenic are dangerous.
This study will concern about 13 million people living in US areas where the levels of inorganic arsenic in drinking water is relatively high. According to estimates, about 8% pf all public water supply systems in US contain 10 micrograms per liter inorganic arsenic. This means that lots of American are at risk, especially the ones living in rural areas.
This research is very small and as researchers mention, they faced 'certain limitations' during the study. Thus, more studies need to be done to clarify the link and understand how exactly and in which doses arsenic affects type 2 diabetes risk. Further researches will take several years to conduct and to estimate the number of people at risk and to measure the levels of health complications.
See also our story about a WaterSafe drinking water test kit that can help you to test your drinking water and make sure it's safe to drink.