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Arsenic could impair lung function

Arsenic could impair lung function

Exposure to low or moderate amounts of arsenic in drinking water could impair lung function.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, adds to a growing list of arsenic-related health problems that includes skin, bladder and lung cancers, cardiovascular disease, cognitive deficits and early death.

Arsenic in drinking-water is a wide occurrence in well-water in Bangladesh. It occurs less extensively in many other countries also. Less is known about exposure to elevated arsenic levels from well water or foods in other parts of the world, including regions in Mexico and the United States.

Researchers examined 950 individuals who reported respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath in Bangladesh. The researchers tested each patient's lung function and documented his or her arsenic levels.

The results found that one-third had been exposed to drinking water with a relatively low arsenic dose. Their lung function, as measured by a spirometry test, decreased slightly. One-third were exposed to a moderate dose, and lung function measurements were significantly decreased.

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