Food Borne Exposure to Arsenic During the First Year of Life

EPA Grant Number: R834599C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R834599
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center - Dartmouth College
Center Director: Karagas, Margaret Rita
Title: Food Borne Exposure to Arsenic During the First Year of Life
Investigators: Karagas, Margaret Rita
Current Investigators: Karagas, Margaret Rita , Cottingham, Kathryn L. , Folt, Carol L. , Punshon, Tracy
Institution: Dartmouth Medical School , Dartmouth College , Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center , Harvard Medical School , University of Miami
Current Institution: Dartmouth Medical School , Dartmouth College
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: February 15, 2010 through February 14, 2013 (Extended to February 14, 2014)
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers: Formative Centers (with NIEHS) (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health


Exposure to metals such as arsenic and lead during development and in early life is a critical public health issue, and such exposures can occur though both water and food, especially to inorganic arsenic. However, limited data are available on the dietary exposure to metals for U.S. infants or the subsequent changes produced by this exposure through established biomarkers (markers of exposure that can be measured such as through urine testing). Recent data, including our own preliminary results, suggest that rice and rice products are significant contributors to human exposure to inorganic arsenic. Building on the Dartmouth Superfund Program's prospective pregnancy cohort, this pilot project will explore dietary sources of metal exposure in a cohort of infants through the first year of life. The goal is to identify the contribution of diet to both metal exposure and the ability to reduce metal toxicity via potential modifying factors such as folate and other B vitamins and iron. The project will focus on exposure through breast milk and infant formulas, but will also collect data on the period when infants transition to solid foods, especially rice cereals. Information regarding the diet of the infant (including breast feeding; amounts of formula, cereals, solids, and water being consumed and vitamin supplementation) will be collected every 2-3 months during the first year of the child’s life via a phone questionnaire. Toenail clippings and a urine sample will be taken from the infant at around 4 months, and lactating women who are using a breast pump to store milk for their infants will be encouraged to provide a sample of breast milk at the same time. We will also obtain toenail clippings from the infant and mother at about 12 months of age, together with information about maternal diet over the past year using a food frequency questionnaire.

Expected Results:

We will compare the infant dietary data with arsenic in the toenail and urine samples, and also use data on arsenic metabolites in the urine sample as a marker of infant ability to metabolize (process) arsenic after birth. If we are able to identify the sources of infant metal exposure, or factors that appear to mitigate the effects of this exposure, we can initiate intervention studies to identify specific dietary recommendations for prevention of adverse outcomes.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 31 publications for this subprojectView all 76 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 12 journal articles for this subprojectView all 29 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

Water, drinking water, ground water, exposure, risk, health effects, human health, vulnerability, sensitive populations, population, infants, children, susceptibility, metals, heavy metals, public policy, decision making, community-based, public good, environmental chemistry, biology, geography, human health, environmental management, international cooperation, Scientific Discipline, Health, Risk Assessment, Biology, Children's Health, Biochemistry, Environmental Policy, Environmental Chemistry, Exposure, Environmental Monitoring, exposure assessment, arsenic exposure, birth defects, developmental disorders, perinatal exposure, prenatal exposure, drinking water, dietary exposure, biological markers, growth & development, children's vulnerability, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Water, HUMAN HEALTH, Exposure, Environmental Chemistry, Biochemistry, Children's Health, Environmental Policy, Drinking Water, Biology, Risk Assessment, birth defects, prenatal exposure, perinatal exposure, children's vulnerablity, biological markers, arsenic exposure, dietary exposure, growth & development, arsenic, developmental disorders

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R834599    Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center - Dartmouth College

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R834599C001 Arsenic and Maternal and Infant Immune Function
    R834599C002 Food Borne Exposure to Arsenic During the First Year of Life
    R834599C003 An Integrated Geospatial and Epidemiological Study of Associations Between Birth Defects and Arsenic Exposure in New England
    R834599C004 Determining How Arsenic (As) Modulates Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) Signaling During Development