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Water Arsenic Exposure and Intellectual Function in 6-Year-Old Children in Araihazar, Bangladesh

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      Abstract

      Background

      We recently reported results of a cross-sectional investigation of intellectual function in 10-year-olds in Bangladesh, who had been exposed to arsenic from drinking water in their home wells.

      Objectives

      We present results of a similar investigation of 301 randomly selected 6-year-olds whose parents participated in our ongoing prospective study of the health effects of As exposure in 12,000 residents of Araihazar, Bangladesh.

      Methods

      Water As and manganese concentrations of tube wells at each home were obtained by surveying all study region wells. Children and mothers were first visited at home, where the quality of home stimulation was measured, and then seen in our field clinic, where children received a medical examination wherein weight, height, and head circumference were assessed. We assessed children’s intellectual function using subtests drawn from the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, version III, by summing weighted items across domains to create Verbal, Performance, Processing Speed, and Full-Scale raw scores. Children provided urine specimens for measuring urinary As and were asked to provide blood samples for blood lead measurements.

      Results

      Exposure to As from drinking water was associated with reduced intellectual function before and after adjusting for water Mn, for blood lead levels, and for sociodemographic features known to contribute to intellectual function. With covariate adjustment, water As remained significantly negatively associated with both Performance and Processing Speed raw scores; associations were less strong than in our previously studied 10-year-olds.

      Conclusion

      This second cross-sectional study of As exposure expands our concerns about As neurotoxicity to a younger age group.

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      Most cited references 25

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      Water Arsenic Exposure and Children’s Intellectual Function in Araihazar, Bangladesh

      Exposure to arsenic has long been known to have neurologic consequences in adults, but to date there are no well-controlled studies in children. We report results of a cross-sectional investigation of intellectual function in 201 children 10 years of age whose parents participate in our ongoing prospective cohort study examining health effects of As exposure in 12,000 residents of Araihazar, Bangladesh. Water As and manganese concentrations of tube wells at each child’s home were obtained by surveying all wells in the study region. Children and mothers came to our field clinic, where children received a medical examination in which weight, height, and head circumference were measured. Children’s intellectual function on tests drawn from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, version III, was assessed by summing weighted items across domains to create Verbal, Performance, and Full-Scale raw scores. Children provided urine specimens for measuring urinary As and creatinine and were asked to provide blood samples for measuring blood lead and hemoglobin concentrations. Exposure to As from drinking water was associated with reduced intellectual function after adjustment for sociodemographic covariates and water Mn. Water As was associated with reduced intellectual function, in a dose–response manner, such that children with water As levels > 50 μg/L achieved significantly lower Performance and Full-Scale scores than did children with water As levels < 5.5 μg/L. The association was generally stronger for well-water As than for urinary As.
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        Water Manganese Exposure and Children’s Intellectual Function in Araihazar, Bangladesh

        Exposure to manganese via inhalation has long been known to elicit neurotoxicity in adults, but little is known about possible consequences of exposure via drinking water. In this study, we report results of a cross-sectional investigation of intellectual function in 142 10-year-old children in Araihazar, Bangladesh, who had been consuming tube-well water with an average concentration of 793 μg Mn/L and 3 μg arsenic/L. Children and mothers came to our field clinic, where children received a medical examination in which weight, height, and head circumference were measured. Children’s intellectual function was assessed on tests drawn from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, version III, by summing weighted items across domains to create Verbal, Performance, and Full-Scale raw scores. Children provided urine specimens for measuring urinary As and creatinine and were asked to provide blood samples for measuring blood lead, As, Mn, and hemoglobin concentrations. After adjustment for sociodemographic covariates, water Mn was associated with reduced Full-Scale, Performance, and Verbal raw scores, in a dose–response fashion; the low level of As in water had no effect. In the United States, roughly 6% of domestic household wells have Mn concentrations that exceed 300 μg Mn/L, the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifetime health advisory level. We conclude that in both Bangladesh and the United States, some children are at risk for Mn-induced neurotoxicity.
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          Exposure to arsenic and lead and neuropsychological development in Mexican children.

          This cross-sectional study examined the effects of chronic exposure to lead (Pb), arsenic (AS) and undernutrition on the neuropsychological development of children. Two populations chronically exposed to either high (41 children) or low (39 children) levels of As and Pb were analyzed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Revised Version, for México (WISC-RM). Geometric means of urinary arsenic (AsU) and lead in blood (PbB) were 62.9+/-0.03 (microgAs/g creatinine) and 8.9+/-0.03 (microg/dl) for the exposed group and 40.2+/-0.03 (microgAs/g creatinine) and 9.7+/-0.02 (microg/dl) for the reference group. The height for age index (HAI) was used as an indicator of chronic malnutrition and sociodemographic information was obtained with a questionnaire. Lead and arsenic were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Data on full, verbal, and performance intelligence quotients (IQ) scores, long-term memory, linguistic abstraction, attention span, and visuospatial organization were obtained through the WISC-RM. After controlling for significant potential confounders verbal IQ (P<0.01) decreased with increasing concentrations of AsU. The HAI correlated positively with full-scale and performance IQ (P<0.01). Higher levels of AsU were significantly related to poorer performance on WISC-RM factors examining long-term memory and linguistic abstraction, while lower scores in WISC-RM factors measuring attention were obtained at increasing values of PbB. Our results suggest that exposure to As and chronic malnutrition could have an influence on verbal abilities and long-term memory, while Pb exposure could affect the attention process even at low levels. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
            [2 ] New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA
            [3 ] Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA
            [4 ] Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
            Author notes
            Address correspondence to G.A. Wasserman, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Dr., Unit 78, New York, New York 10032 USA. Telephone: (212) 543-5296. Fax: (212) 543-1000. E-mail: wassermg@ 123456childpsych.columbia.edu

            The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

            Journal
            Environ Health Perspect
            Environmental Health Perspectives
            National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
            0091-6765
            February 2007
            18 October 2006
            : 115
            : 2
            : 285-289
            1817715
            17384779
            10.1289/ehp.9501
            ehp0115-000285
            This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI
            Categories
            Research
            Children's Health

            Public health

            assessment, water, arsenic, bangladesh, children

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