The association between arsenic and children's intelligence: a meta-analysis

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2009 Summer;129(1-3):88-93. doi: 10.1007/s12011-008-8298-1. Epub 2008 Dec 24.


This present study was undertaken to investigate whether arsenic exposure increases the risk of children's low intelligence quotient (IQ) in China. MEDLINE, SCI, CNKI, and CBM search were organized for all documents published, in English and Chinese, between 1988 and 2008 using the following keywords: arsenic, intelligence, and IQ. As a result, four cross-sectional studies that assessed the development of low IQ in children who had been exposed to arsenic earlier in their life were included in this study. The summary weighted mean difference of IQ was calculated in this meta-analyses, when arsenicosis areas or slight arsenicosis areas were compared with non-arsenicosis areas; it is -6.85 (95% confidence interval [CI] = -8.30 to -5.41; p < 0.01, using a fixed effect model) and -6.54 (95%CI = -8.93 to -4.15; p < 0.01, using a random effect model), which means that children who live in an arsenicosis area or a slight arsenicosis area have lower IQ than those who live in a non-arsenicosis area, and there may be a strong association between arsenic and children's intelligence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / adverse effects*
  • Bias
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / drug effects*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Arsenic