Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | November 14, 2008

Lawyer Sanders says university researchers find link between low levels of arsenic in drinking level and heart disease in mice.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral primarily found in groundwater. Drinking water with high levels of arsenic over many years has been linked to increased risks for lung, bladder and skin cancers, as well as heart disease, diabetes and neurological damage.  New research on mice finds that arsenic in drinking water may also cause heart disease even at levels that are currently believed to be safe.

 

When mice are exposed to arsenic at federally-approved levels for drinking water, pores in liver blood vessels close, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease, say University of Pittsburgh researchers in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study, while preliminary, also reveals how an enzyme linked to hypertension and atherosclerosis alters cells, and may call into question current U.S. EPA standards for drinking water that are based solely on risks for cancer.

The researchers looked at specialized cells in the liver called sinusoidal endothelial cells, which are tasked with removing wastes from blood and enabling nutrients to regulate metabolism. After exposing mice to 10 to 100 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic over a two-week period, the cells were less able to remove damaged proteins from the blood and lost their characteristic pores or “windows,” severely compromising the cells’ ability to effectively exchange nutrients and waste.  Normally, mice are usually less sensitive to the effects of arsenic than people. 

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