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Opportunities and Challenges for Dietary Arsenic Intervention

August 01, 2018
Environmental Health Perspectives

Nachman KE, Punshon T, Rardin L, Signes-Pastor AJ, Murray CJ, Jackson BP, Guerinot ML, Burke TA, Chen CY, Ahsan H, Argos M, Cottingham KL, Cubadda F, Ginsberg GL, Goodale BC, Kurzius-Spencer M, Meharg AA, Miller MD, Nigra AE, Pendergrast CB, Raab A, Reimer K, Scheckel KG, Schwerdtle T, Taylor VF, Tokar EJ, Warczak TM, Karagas MR

The diet is emerging as the dominant source of arsenic exposure for most of the U.S. population. Despite this, limited regulatory efforts have been aimed at mitigating exposure, and the role of diet in arsenic exposure and disease processes remains understudied. In this brief, we discuss the evidence linking dietary arsenic intake to human disease and discuss challenges associated with exposure characterization and efforts to quantify risks. In light of these challenges, and in recognition of the potential longer-term process of establishing regulation, we introduce a framework for shorter-term interventions that employs a field-to-plate food supply chain model to identify monitoring, intervention, and communication opportunities as part of a multisector, multiagency, science-informed, public health systems approach to mitigation of dietary arsenic exposure. Such an approach is dependent on coordination across commodity producers, the food industry, nongovernmental organizations, health professionals, researchers, and the regulatory community.