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Columbia University

Superfund Research Program

A Cohort Study of Health Effects of Arsenic Exposure in Bangladesh

Project Leader: Habibul Ahsan (University of Chicago)
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2000-2021

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The overall goal of this project is to assemble a large cohort of adults to prospectively examine the short-term and intermediate-term health effects of inorganic arsenic (InAs) exposure. Researchers are initially focusing on skin lesions, skin cancers, biomarkers of arsenic toxicity and mortality. The creation of this cohort is also facilitating Project #4, which is studying pregnancy outcomes and children's health in the same families. Ultimately this cohort will serve as the base for future studies of long-term health effects of InAs exposure. Ten thousand married men and women from Sonargaon, Bangladesh are being recruited. These people have been exposed to a wide range of InAs (from <10ug/l to >1000ug/L) in drinking water. Trained personnel are collecting interview data, blood and urine samples. Follow-up interviews with the subjects will be conducted in year 3 and in year 5. Incidences of skin lesions and skin cancers will be ascertained through physical examination by the study physicians followed by histopathologic confirmation by the study pathologist. This study will prospectively examine the full dose-response relationship between arsenic exposure and skin lesions and skin cancers using individual measurement data. The study will also examine the biomarkers, urinary arsenic species and TGF-alpha, in relation to arsenic exposure, and in relation to the risk of skin lesions and skin cancers.

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