Author(s): Steinmaus CM, Ferreccio C, Romo JA, Yuan Y, Cortes S,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract BACKGROUND: Millions of people worldwide are exposed to arsenic-contaminated water. In the largest city in northern Chile (Antofagasta), more than 250,000 people were exposed to high arsenic drinking water concentrations from 1958 until 1970 when a water treatment plant was installed. Because of its unique geology, limited water sources, and good historical records, lifetime exposure and long-term latency patterns can be assessed in this area with better accuracy than in other arsenic-exposed areas worldwide. METHODS: We conducted a population-based case-control study in northern Chile from October 2007 to December 2010 involving 232 bladder and 306 lung cancer cases and 640 age- and gender-matched controls, with detailed information on past exposure and potential confounders, including smoking and occupation. RESULTS: Bladder cancer ORs for quartiles of average arsenic concentrations in water before 1971 (<11, 11-90, 91-335, and >335 μg/L) were 1.00, 1.36 [95\% confidence interval (CI), 0.78-2.37], 3.87 (2.25-6.64), and 6.50 (3.69-11.43), respectively. Corresponding lung cancer ORs were 1.00, 1.27 (0.81-1.98), 2.00 (1.24-3.24), and 4.32 (2.60-7.17). Bladder and lung cancer ORs in those highly exposed in Antofagasta during 1958 to 1970 but not thereafter were 6.88 (3.84-12.32) and 4.35 (2.57-7.36), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The lung and bladder cancer risks that we found up to 40 years after high exposures have ended are very high. IMPACT: Our findings suggest that prevention, treatment, and other mortality reduction efforts in arsenic-exposed countries will be needed for decades after exposure cessation.
This article was published in Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev
and referenced in Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry