A number of studies indicate that arsenic, which occurs naturally in soil and rock throughout the United States, is “an astonishingly versatile poison, able to do damage even at low doses,” writes Deborah Blum in The New York Times.
Blum notes that Dartmouth’s New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study measured women’s arsenic exposure during pregnancy, and compared it to respiratory infections in the women’s infants up to four months of age. Researchers found that the higher the mothers’ exposure to arsenic in drinking water, the greater the number of respiratory infections in their infants, Blum writes.
“We were surprised to find the connection so visible at the lower exposures seen here,” says Margaret Karagas, an epidemiologist and professor of community and family medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine and the senior author of the study. “If people have private wells, they need to have them tested for arsenic,” she tells Blum.
Read the full story, published 9/20/13 by The New York Times.