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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 198793, 13 pages
Research Article

The Association between Chronic Arsenic Exposure and Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis

1Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), The School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW 2008, Australia
2The School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
3Biostatistics, School of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW 2008, Australia
4Research and Education Department, ASPETAR-Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, P.O. Box 29992, Doha, Qatar

Received 1 May 2011; Accepted 11 October 2011

Academic Editor: Habibul Ahsan

Copyright © 2012 Tanvir Abir et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. There is inconclusive evidence from cross-sectional and cohort studies that arsenic exposure is a risk factor involved in the development of hypertension. Methods. A database search, using several keywords, was conducted to identify relevant studies. Separate odds ratio estimates for arsenic exposure with concentration only and arsenic exposure with duration, including biomarker, were extracted from studies that met all inclusion criteria. The extracted odds ratios (OR) comparing the highest exposure categories with the lowest in each study were pooled using the random effects methods of meta-analysis. Heterogeneity of odds ratios in the included studies were analyzed using I2 statistics. Results. Eight studies were analyzed. Using the exposure as arsenic concentration in the drinking water, the OR estimate was 1.9 (95% CI: 1.2–3.0), with the I2 = 92%, while using the exposure as concentration and duration, the OR estimate was 1.4 (95% CI: 0.95–2.0) with the I2 = 80%. Meta-regression was done and the quality of exposure measurement was found to be significantly associated with the effect measure. For a one unit increase in the score from exposure assessment, the odds ratio decreased by 6%. No publication bias was evident. The only major weaknesses of this study were heterogeneity across studies and small sample size. Conclusions. The study findings provide limited evidence for a relationship between arsenic and hypertension. In summary, the relationship between arsenic exposure and hypertension is still inconclusive and needs further validation through prospective cohort studies.