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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1510065

Relation between in Utero Arsenic Exposure and Birth Outcomes in a Cohort of Mothers and Their Newborns from New Hampshire

Diane Gilbert-Diamond,1,2* Jennifer A. Emond,3* Emily R. Baker,2,4 Susan A. Korrick,2,5,6 and Margaret R. Karagas1,2
Author Affiliations open
1Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA; 2Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA; 3Department of Biomedical Data Science, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA; 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA; 5Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, New Hampshire, USA; 6Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, New Hampshire, USA.

*Indicates equal contribution to this paper

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  • Background: Studies suggest that arsenic exposure influences birth outcomes, however findings are mixed.

    Objective: We assessed in utero arsenic exposure in relation to birth outcomes and whether maternal pre-pregnancy weight and infant sex modified associations.

    Methods: Among 706 mother-infant pairs exposed to low levels of arsenic through drinking water and diet, we assessed in utero arsenic exposure using maternal second trimester urinary arsenic, maternal pre-pregnancy weight through self-report, and birth outcomes from medical records.

    Results: Median (IQ range) of total urinary arsenic (tAs; inorganic arsenic (iAs) + monomethylarsonic acid (MMA) + dimethylarsinic acid (DMA)) was 3.4 µg/L (1.7 – 6.0). In adjusted linear models, each doubling of tAs was associated with a 0.10 cm decrease (95% CI: -0.19, -0.01) in head circumference. Results were similar for MMA and DMA. Ln(tAs) and Ln (DMA) were positively associated with birth length in infant males only; among males, each doubling of tAs was associated with a 0.28 cm increase (95% CI: 0.09, 0.46) birth length (Pinteraction = 0.04). Results were similar for DMA. Additionally, arsenic exposure was inversely related to Ponderal Index and associations differed by maternal weight. Each Ln(tAs) doubling of tAs was associated with a 0.55 kg/m3 lower (95% CI: -0.82, -0.28, P<0.001) Ponderal Index for infants of overweight/obese, but not normal weight, mothers, (Pinteraction <0.01). Finally, there was a significant interaction between maternal weight status, infant sex, and arsenic exposure on birth weight (Pinteraction = 0.03). In girls born of overweight/obese mothers, each doubling of tAs was associated with a 62.9 g decrease (95% CI: -111.6, -14.2) in birth weight, though the association was null in the other strata.

    Conclusions: Low-level arsenic exposure may impact fetal growth, and the associations may be modified by maternal weight status and infant sex.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Gilbert-Diamond D, Emond JA, Baker ER, Korrick SA, Karagas MR. Relation between in Utero Arsenic Exposure and Birth Outcomes in a Cohort of Mothers and Their Newborns from New Hampshire. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510065

    Received: 10 April 2015
    Accepted: 12 February 2016
    Advance Publication: 8 March 2016

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