Hypertension risks arising from chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs) are well documented. Consumption of rice is a major iAs exposure route for over 3 billion people, however, there is a lack of epidemiological evidence demonstrating an association of hypertension risks with iAs intake from rice, especially in areas where there is little exposure from drinking water but a growing demand for rice intake.
To address this, we conducted an individual-level cross-sectional analysis to quantify the extent to which daily iAs intake from rice & rice products (E-iAsing,rice) modifies the association between hypertension risks and previously well-established risk factors. The analysis was based on secondary dietary, socio-demographic and health status data of 598 participants recorded in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2014 - 2016. E-iAsing, rice and five blood pressure endpoints were derived with potential associations explored through generalized linear models.
According to the results, a negative but not significant relationship was found between hypertension risks and E-iAsing, rice after adjusting for major risk factors, notably age, gender, diabetes and obesity, with relatively higher risks being observed for male, middle-aged, overweight, alcohol consumer or Asian or Asian British, Black or Black British and mixed ethnic groups.
Though inconclusive and mainly limited by potential incomplete adjustment for major confounders and intrinsic disadvantages of a cross-sectional design, this study was the first quantifying the individual level dose-response relationship between E-iAsing, rice and hypertension risks, and is consistent with previous studies on the limited associations of hypertension with low level arsenic exposure from drinking water. Larger scale cohort studies are indicated to quantify the association but in any event it is likely to be weak.