Arsenic, a naturally occurring element in the earth's crust, could, even at moderate levels, pose the threat of heart disease, claims a study carried out in Bangladesh.
Researchers studies 12,000 men and women in Araihazar, Bangladesh where they are exposed to contaminated ground water.
The arsenic levels in water in wells frequented by the people were measured. Urine samples were also tested. The study was carried over a period of 6.6 years.
The research team discovered that among those who drank water with moderate levels of arsenic there were 271 cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 person years compared to 214 per 100,000 person years among people who drank water with low levels of arsenic.
Smokers faced a higher risk from dying of heart disease triggered off by arsenic compared to non-smokers.
Since it had been established in earlier studies that arsenic can induce hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), the threat of cardiovascular problems do exist in even moderate levels of arsenic in drinking water as these findings conclude.