(HealthDay News) – Chronic exposure to low-to-moderate levels of inorganic arsenic is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, according to research published online Sept. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Katherine A. Moon, MPH, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues assessed the association between exposure to inorganic arsenic and incident cardiovascular disease in 3,575 American Indian men and women, aged 45–74 years, in Arizona, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota.

When urine arsenic levels were compared by highest to lowest quartile, the researchers observed a significantly increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke (hazard ratio [HR], 1.65, 1.71, and 3.03, respectively). Similarly, risk was increased for incident cardiovascular disease (HR, 1.32; P=0.002), coronary heart disease (HR, 1.30; P=0.006), and stroke (HR, 1.47; P=0.032).

“Low-to-moderate inorganic arsenic exposure, as measured in urine, was prospectively associated with fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease in a population of rural American Indians with a high burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” the authors write.

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