Arsenic (As) is a contaminant of top public health concern, due to its range of detrimental health effects. Arsenic exposure has not been well-characterized among the US Hispanic populations and has been particularly understudied in this population during pregnancy.
As part of the MADRES ongoing pregnancy cohort of predominantly lower-income, Hispanic women in Los Angeles, CA, we examined levels of maternal first trimester urinary As, including total As and As metabolites (inorganic (iAs), monomethylated (MMA) and dimethylated As (DMA)), in relation to participant demographics, lifestyle characteristics, and rice/seafood consumption, to identify factors that may influence As exposure and its metabolites during pregnancy (N = 241).
Total As concentrations ranged from low to high (0.8–506.2 μg/L, mean: 9.0 μg/L, SD: 32.9) in our study population. Foreign-born Hispanic women had 8.6% higher %DMA (95% CI: 3.3%, 13.9%) and −7.7% lower %iAs (95% CI: −12.6%, −2.9%) than non-Hispanic women. A similar trend was observed for US-born Hispanic women. In addition, maternal age was associated with 0.4% higher %iAs (95% CI: 0.1%, 0.6%) and 0.4% lower %DMA (95% CI: −0.7%, −0.1%) per year, which may indicate poor As methylation capacity.
Individual factors may predict As exposure and metabolism in pregnancy, and in turn, greater risk of adverse health effects.
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We would like to thank the MADRES participants, our community clinic partners, and our study staff for their many contributions to this work. Thank you to the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants (ALEC) at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, which performed the urinary metals analyses.
Funding for this study was provided by NIH grants P50 ES026086, and 4UH3OD023287-03 and an EPA grant 83615801-0. Dr. Farzan is supported by a NIEHS Pathway to Independence Grant (R00 ES024144) and a USC Provost’s Fellowship. Dr. Howe is supported by a NIEHS Pathway to Independence Award (K99 ES030400). The funding agencies that supported this work had no role in the planning, design, or execution of this study, nor any role in data analysis or manuscript preparation.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All participants provided written informed consent upon enrollment.
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Farzan, S.F., Howe, C.G., Chavez, T.A. et al. Demographic predictors of urinary arsenic in a low-income predominantly Hispanic pregnancy cohort in Los Angeles. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 31, 94–107 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-020-0251-1
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