Chromosome studies in human subjects chronically exposed to arsenic in drinking water

B. K. Vig, M. L. Figueroa, M. N. Cornforth, S. H. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A two‐year study was carried out on human subjects of various ages and backgrounds who had been drinking water containing more than 0.05 mg/liter (0.05 ppm) arsenic for a period of at least five years. The main aim was to correlate the frequency of chromosome aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges in the lymphocytes with the amount of arsenic in the water. In addition, we explored the incidence of skin cancer, fetal wastage, and genetic or developmental abnormalities. Several other variables—eg, coffee, wine, and cigarette consumption; sex, residence (rural vs urban); and exposure to chemicals, smelters, or pesticides—were also taken into consideration. The data on chromosome aberrations (104 exposed and 86 control individuals) and on sister chromatid exchanges (98 exposed and 83 control individuals) did not show that arsenic at concentrations used by our population (>0.05 mg/liter) has any effect on these parameters. Similarly, no other health effects of arsenic at these concentrations were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • arsenic
  • chromosome aberrations
  • drinking water
  • sister chromatid exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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