Urine arsenic concentration and obstructive pulmonary disease in the U.S. population

Eric D. Amster, Jang Ik Cho, David Christiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arsenic (As) is a known carcinogen commonly found in drinking water. An emerging body of evidence suggests that exposure to inorganic As may be associated with nonmalignant respiratory disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between As exposure at levels seen in the United States and prevalence of asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory symptoms.Urinary As was collected from 5365 participants from the combined 2003.2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cohorts. Two methods to adjust for organic As component were incorporated into the statistical model. Linear and logistic regression models compared urinary As adjusted for organic As with diagnoses of obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory symptoms.Geometric mean concentration of urinary As were not significantly different between participants with and those without asthma, chronic bronchitis,and emphysema. Odds of having asthma was 0.71for participants with the highest quintile of urinary As (≥17.23 μg/dl) when compared to the lowest quintile (≤3.52 μg/dl). A significant association was found between increasing urinary As concentration and decreasing age, male gender, and non-"white" race.A significant association between urinary As and obstructive pulmonary disease and symptoms was not demonstrated in the U.S. population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant ES00002) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (grant T42OH009416).The authors thank Dr. Amy Cohen for her assistance in the statistical methods. Dr. Amster was involved in the development of the study design and methodology; he conducted the literature review, was involved in data analysis, and was the primary author of the article.Mr. Cho was involved in SAS programming, development of statistical methods, and revisions of the article.Dr. Christiani was involved in development of study hypothesis and design, as well as data interpretation and final approval of the article.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology


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