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Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 91, Issue 11, pp 3459–3467 | Cite as

Early life arsenic exposure, infant and child growth, and morbidity: a systematic review

  • Anisur Rahman
  • Caroline Granberg
  • Lars-Åke Persson
Review Article

Abstract

Epidemiological studies have suggested a negative association between early life arsenic exposure and fetal size at birth, and subsequently with child morbidity and growth. However, our understanding of the relationship between arsenic exposure and morbidity and growth is limited. This paper aims to systematically review original human studies with an analytical epidemiological study design that have assessed arsenic exposure in fetal life or early childhood and evaluated the association with one or several of the following outcomes: fetal growth, birth weight or other birth anthropometry, infant and child growth, infectious disease morbidity in infancy and early childhood. A literature search was conducted in PubMed, TOXLINE, Web of Science, SciFinder and Scopus databases filtered for human studies. Based on the predefined eligibility criteria, two authors independently evaluated the studies. A total of 707 studies with morbidity outcomes were identified, of which six studies were eligible and included in this review. For the growth outcomes, a total of 2959 studies were found and nine fulfilled the criteria and were included in the review. A majority of the papers (10/15) emanated from Bangladesh, three from the USA, one from Romania and one from Canada. All included studies on arsenic exposure and morbidity showed an increased risk of respiratory tract infections and diarrhea. The findings in the studies of arsenic exposure and fetal, infant, and child growth were heterogeneous. Arsenic exposure was not associated with fetal growth. There was limited evidence of negative associations between arsenic exposures and birth weight and growth during early childhood. More studies from arsenic-affected low- and middle-income countries are needed to support the generalizability of study findings.

Keywords

Arsenic Human studies Growth Morbidity Systematic review 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maternal and Child Health DivisionInternational Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b)DhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH)Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK

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