Low levels of arsenic from ground water may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, say U.S. researchers.
In this new study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported a link between type 2 diabetes and low levels of arsenic in the urine of nearly 800 adults.
People with the highest urine levels of arsenic levels had more than triple the odds of developing Type 2 diabetes as those with the lowest levels of this colourless, odourless and tasteless element.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral element that may increase cancer risk after long-term exposure. Previous studies have linked high levels of arsenic in drinking water with type 2 diabetes.
This new study suggests that long-term exposure to low and medium levels of arsenic may also increase diabetes risk.
In 2006, the Canadian cut-off for arsenic in drinking water was reduced to the international standard of 0.010 milligrams per litre of water.
According to arsenic researchers, future research will examine the impact of arsenic in drinking water on global health to determine if changes to the international drinking water standards are warranted.
This study was published in the August 20, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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