Association between arsenic exposure and a measure of subclinical sensory neuropathy in Bangladesh

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Aug;47(8):778-84. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000169089.54549.db.


Objectives: We examined the association between arsenic exposure and peripheral neuropathy in Bangladesh, where the population has been chronically exposed to arsenic in drinking water.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 137 subjects derived from a larger cohort. Exposure measures included individual water arsenic concentration, cumulative arsenic index, and urinary arsenic concentration taken at two time points (2001 and 2003). The primary outcome measurement was elevated vibrotactile threshold, as measured by a vibration sensitivity tester (Vibratron II).

Results: Arsenic exposure was associated with elevated toe vibration threshold (TVT). Specifically, cumulative arsenic index and urinary arsenic (2001) were both significantly associated with elevated TVT (P = 0.02 and P = 0.009, respectively) after adjustment for age and gender.

Conclusions: Increased arsenic exposure, as measured by both cumulative and urinary measures, was associated with evidence of subclinical sensory neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Arsenic / urine
  • Arsenic Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Arsenic Poisoning / physiopathology*
  • Arsenic Poisoning / urine
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / chemically induced
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Proprioception
  • Toes / physiopathology
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / adverse effects*
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / analysis


  • Arsenic