Researchers tested levels of arsenic in urine sample of people drinking water from private wells
When arsenic levels doubled, it increased the risk of the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, thickening by 47%
In those with high blood pressure, the increase in arsenic levels raised the risk of thickening by nearly 60%
When the left ventricle thickens, blood may not be able to be pumped effectively, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes
A report found last week that California’s public water supply contained arsenic
Drinking water contaminated with arsenic could change the structure of the heart, a new study says.
Past studies have found that the public water supply in California and bottled water from Whole Foods and Dr Pepper contain the toxic element.
Now researchers say that private water wells, particularly on Native American reservations, main contain it as well.
The study found that arsenic-laced water increased the risk of the heart’s main pumping chamber being thickened by nearly 50 percent.
This put sufferers at risk of several cardiovascular disease risk factors such as hypertension, high blood pressure heart attack and strokes.
The team, led by Hietzing Hospital in Vienna, Austria, is calling on the regulation of private water wells to prevent arsenic exposure in the first place.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the Earth’s crust and can be found in air, food, soil and water.
In its inorganic form and in high levels, arsenic can be highly toxic, and even deadly.
A 2017 study estimated that roughly 2.1 million people in the US drink water from private wells that have high concentrations of arsenic.
According to the World Health Organization, people who drink contaminated water can suffer from acute arsenic poisoning, which causes vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.
Long-term exposure, however, has been linked to cancers of the bladder, lungs and skin as well as developmental effects, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
‘Before this study, several high-quality prospective cohort studies had shown that arsenic exposure was associated with increased risk of clinical cardiovascular outcomes,’ lead author Dr Gernot Pichler of the Department of Cardiology at Hospital Hietzing, told DailyMail.com.
‘We conducted this study because despite the evidence on arsenic and clinical disease, the underlying mechanisms are unknown.’
For the new study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, the team looked at data from the Strong Heart Family Study.
The SHS, run by the University of Oklahoma is a study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors among American Indians.
Researchers measured arsenic exposure in urine samples from more than 1,300 adults and performed electrocardiograms of the size, shape and function of their hearts.