Inorganic arsenic exposure and neuropsychological development of children of 4-5 years of age living in Spain

Antonio J Signes-Pastor, Jesús Vioque, Eva M Navarrete-Muñoz, Manus Carey, Miguel García-Villarino, Ana Fernández-Somoano, Adonina Tardón, Loreto Santa-Marina, Amaia Irizar, Maribel Casas, Mònica Guxens, Sabrina Llop, Raquel Soler-Blasco, Manoli García-de-la-Hera, Margaret R Karagas, Andrew A Meharg

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Early-life exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs) may adversely impact health later in life. To date, evidence of iAs adverse effects on children's neurodevelopment comes mainly from populations highly exposed to contaminated water with conflicting results. Little is known about those effects among populations with low iAs exposure from food intake. We investigated the cross-sectional association between exposure to iAs and neurodevelopment scores among children living in Spain whose main route of exposure was diet. Arsenic species concentrations in urine from 400 children was determined, and the sum of urinary iAs, dimethylarsinic acid, and monomethylarsonic acid was used to estimate iAs exposure. The McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities was used to assess children's neuropsychological development at about 4-5 years of age. The median (interquartile range) of children's sum of urinary iAs, MMA, and DMA was 4.85 (2.74-7.54) μg/L, and in adjusted linear regression analyses the natural logarithm transformed concentrations showed an inverse association with children's motor functions (β, [95% confidence interval]; global scores (-2.29, [-3.95, -0.63])), gross scores (-1.92, [-3.52, -0.31]) and fine scores (-1.54, [-3.06, -0.03]). In stratified analyses by sex, negative associations were observed with the scores in the quantitative index (-2.59, [-5.36, 0.17]) and working memory function (-2.56, [-5.36, 0.24]) only in boys. Our study suggests that relatively low iAs exposure may impair children's neuropsychological development and that sex-related differences may be present in susceptibility to iAs related effects; however, our findings should be interpreted with caution given the possibility of residual confounding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date29 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2019

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