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24 September 2018
ISES-ISEE 2018 Joint Annual Meeting: Addressing Complex Local and Global Issues in Environmental Exposure and Health

Arsenic and Bladder Cancer: Very High Mortality Continues >50 Years after First High Exposure

Publication: ISEE Conference Abstracts
Volume 2018, Issue 1


Background/Aim: The city of Antofagasta, the major city in northern Chile, had a specific period (1958-1970) with very high arsenic water concentrations of around 870 ug/L. We previously reported increased mortality associated with this arsenic exposure for 1981-2000, and separately for 2001-2010. In this paper, we compare bladder cancer mortality in Antofagasta with the that of the rest of Chile between these two periods.Methods: The age and gender specific numbers of bladder cancer deaths in Antofagasta were compared with expected numbers based on the rest of Chile for the two periods 1989-2000 and 2001-2010, and Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMRs) and attributable risks were estimated. We also made comparisons between different birth cohorts.Results: The overall SMRs for bladder cancer for Antofagasta were 8.8 (95% CI, 7.9-9.8) in 1989-2000, and 6.2 (95% CI, 5.6-6.9) in 2001-2010. The attributable risks among the exposed were 89% and 84%, with 296 bladder cancer deaths attributable to arsenic in the period 1989-2000, and 280 in the period 2001-2010. For those in the 1958-1970 birth cohort, who if born in Antofagasta would have experienced very high early life exposure, the SMRs were 38.3 (17.5-72.7) in 1989-2000 and 16.0 (10.1, 25.4) in 2001-2010.Conclusions: The relationship between arsenic in drinking water and subsequent bladder cancer mortality is quite extraordinary and without precedent in environmental epidemiology, including major impact among those who probably experienced early life exposure.

Information & Authors


Published In

ISEE Conference Abstracts
Volume 2018Issue 124 September 2018


Published online: 24 September 2018


  1. Arsenic Exposure and Health
  2. Epidemiology
  3. Water
  4. Population Exposure
  5. Global Health



UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States, [email protected]
UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States, [email protected]
Pontificia Universidad Cat olica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, [email protected]
Pontificia Universidad Cat olica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, [email protected]
UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States, [email protected]
UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States, [email protected]

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