Estimation of Inorganic Arsenic Exposure in Populations With Frequent Seafood Intake: Evidence From MESA and NHANES

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Abstract

The sum of urinary inorganic arsenic (iAs) and methylated arsenic (monomethylarsonate and dimethylarsinate (DMA)) species is the main biomarker of iAs exposure. Assessing iAs exposure, however, is difficult in populations with moderate-to-high seafood intakes. In the present study, we used subsamples from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (2000–2002) (n = 310) and the 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 1,175). We calibrated urinary concentrations of non–seafood-derived iAs, DMA, and methylarsonate, as well as the sum of inorganic and methylated arsenic species, in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and of DMA in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by regressing their original concentrations by arsenobetaine and extracting model residuals. To confirm that calibrated biomarkers reflected iAs exposure but not seafood intake, we compared urinary arsenic concentrations by levels of seafood and rice intakes. Self-reported seafood intakes, estimated n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels, and measured n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels were positively associated with the original urinary arsenic biomarkers. Using the calibrated arsenic biomarkers, we found a marked attenuation of the associations with self-reported seafood intake and estimated or measured n-3 fatty acids, whereas associations with self-reported rice intake remained similar. Our residual-based method provides estimates of iAs exposure and metabolism for each participant that no longer reflect seafood intake and can facilitate research about low-to-moderate levels of iAs exposure in populations with high seafood intakes.

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