Low-level arsenic exposure: Nutritional and dietary predictors in first-grade Uruguayan children

Katarzyna Kordas, Elena I. Queirolo, Nelly Mañay, Fabiana Peregalli, Pao Ying Hsiao, Ying Lu, Marie Vahter

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66 Scopus citations


Arsenic exposure in children is a public health concern but is understudied in relation to the predictors, and effects of low-level exposure. We examined the extent and dietary predictors of exposure to inorganic arsenic in 5-8 year old children from Montevideo, Uruguay. Children were recruited at school; 357 were enrolled, 328 collected morning urine samples, and 317 had two 24-h dietary recalls. Urinary arsenic metabolites, i.e. inorganic arsenic (iAs), methylarsonic acid (MMA), and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography with hydride generation and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HPLC-HG-ICP-MS), and the sum concentration (U-As) used for exposure assessment. Proportions of arsenic metabolites (%iAs, %MMA and %DMA) in urine were modelled in OLS regressions as functions of food groups, dietary patterns, nutrient intake, and nutritional status. Exposure to arsenic was low (median U-As: 9.9 μg/L) and household water (water As: median 0.45 μg/L) was not a major contributor to exposure. Children with higher consumption of rice had higher U-As but lower %iAs, %MMA, and higher %DMA. Children with higher meat consumption had lower %iAs and higher %DMA. Higher scores on "nutrient dense" dietary pattern were related to lower %iAs and %MMA, and higher %DMA. Higher intake of dietary folate was associated with lower %MMA and higher %DMA. Overweight children had lower %MMA and higher %DMA than normal-weight children. In summary, rice was an important predictor of exposure to inorganic arsenic and DMA. Higher meat and folate consumption, diet rich in green leafy and red-orange vegetables and eggs, and higher BMI contributed to higher arsenic methylation capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - May 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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