Superfund Research Program
Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Exposure Assessment of Metals
Project Leader: Margaret R. Karagas
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 1995-2021
The overarching aim of this project is to examine the health impacts of arsenic exposure through water and food sources. The research team is specifically investigating the possible effects of gestational arsenic exposure on cardiovascular disease and diabetes (altered glucose metabolism) and on newborn health. Over 2,300 mother-infant dyads are enrolled in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort of pregnant women whose households were served by a private water source. Through the Trace Element Analysis Core, the team conducts analyses of an array of trace elements on environmental and biological samples reflecting exposures during peri-conception, and in early, middle, and late gestation. The team continue to engage in collaborative investigations including through their External Use Case (EUC) Supplement with the Northeastern University and University of New Mexico Superfund Research Programs amongst others (Laue 2020; Fleisch 2020). The EUC combines data from three birth cohorts to examine associations with trace elements and gestational age and birth weight. The project’s KC Donnelly fellow, Ahlam Abuawad (Columbia University), is assessing arsenic exposure in relation to cord blood metabolites and gestational diabetes. The team continues to build collaborative studies of prenatal exposures and child blood pressure (Farzan 2021), neurodevelopment (Doherty 2020), growth (Muse 2020), diet (Signes 2020) and other novel markers such as the gut microbiome (Laue 2020; Signes 2020). Exposure methods used in the birth cohort have been extended to multiple other cohorts in the USA and abroad (e.g., Signes-Pastor 2020). The team’s findings highlight the importance of evaluating the sources and lifelong health impacts of low-level toxic metal exposures.