2024 / 03  by Assistant Professor Chih-Wen Wang


Arsenic exposure is associated with airway inflammation and decreased lung function tests. Whether arsenic exposure associated with lung interstitial changes remains unknown. We conducted this population-based study in southern Taiwan during 2016 and 2018. Our study recruited individuals aged over 20 years, residing in the vicinity of a petrochemical complex and with no history of cigarette smoking. In both the 2016 and 2018 cross-sectional studies, we conducted chest low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans, as well as urinary arsenic and blood biochemistry analyses. Lung interstitial changes included lung fibrotic changes that were defined as the presence of curvilinear or linear densities, fine lines, or plate opacity in specific lobes; additionally, other interstitial changes were defined as the presence of ground-glass opacity (GGO) or bronchiectasis on the LDCT images. In both cross-sectional studies conducted in 2016 and 2018, participants with lung fibrotic changes exhibited a statistically significant increase in the mean urinary arsenic concentrations compared to those without fibrotic changes (geometric mean = 100.1 vs. 82.8 μg/g creatinine, p < 0.001 for cross-sectional study 2016, and geometric mean = 105.6 vs. 71.0 μg/g creatinine, p < 0.001 for cross-sectional study 2018). After controlling for age, gender, body mass index, platelet counts, hypertension, aspartate aminotransferase, cholesterol, HbA1c, and educational levels, we observed a significant positive association between a unit increase in log urinary arsenic concentrations and the risk of lung fibrotic changes in both cross-sectional study 2016 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04–1.90, p = 0.028) and cross-sectional study 2018 (OR = 3.03, 95% CI = 1.38–6.63, p = 0.006). Our study did not find a significant association between arsenic exposure and bronchiectasis or GGO. It is imperative for the government to take significant measures to reduce arsenic exposure levels among individuals living near petrochemical complexes.

2024 Wang CWE

More Information:

Wang CW(王志文)Chen SC(陳思嘉), Wu DW, Lin HH, Chen HC, Hung CH, Kuo CH. Arsenic exposure associated with lung interstitial changes in non-smoking individuals living near a petrochemical complex: A repeated cross-sectional study. Environ Pollut. 2023 Aug 15;331(Pt 2):121844. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2023.121844. (SCIE, IF2022: 8.9, 28/275=10.18% in Environmental Sciences)

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