A review and rationale for studying the cardiovascular effects of drinking water arsenic in women of reproductive age
Drinking water arsenic has been shown to be associated with a host of adverse health outcomes at exposure levels >300 microg of As/L. However, the results are not consistent at exposures below this level. We have reviewed selected articles that examine the effects of drinking water arsenic on cardiovascular outcomes and present a rationale for studying these effects on women of reproductive age, and also over the course of pregnancy when they would potentially be more susceptible to adverse cardiovascular and reproductive outcomes. It is only recently that reproductive effects have been linked to drinking water arsenic. However, there is a paucity of information about the cardiovascular effects of drinking water arsenic on women of reproductive age. Under the cardiovascular challenge of pregnancy, we hypothesize that women with a slightly elevated exposure to drinking water arsenic may exhibit adverse cardiovascular outcomes at higher rates than in the general population. Studying sensitive clinical and sub-clinical indicators of disease in susceptible sub-populations may yield important information about the potentially enormous burden of disease related to low-level drinking water arsenic exposure.