Arsenic and Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review

Laura Zheng, Chin Chi Kuo, Jeffrey Fadrowski, Jackie Agnew, Virginia M. Weaver, Ana Navas Acien

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


In epidemiologic studies, high arsenic exposure has been associated with adverse kidney disease outcomes. We performed a systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence of the association between arsenic and various kidney disease outcomes. The search period was January 1966 through January 2014. Twenty-five papers (comprising 24 studies) meeting the search criteria were identified and included in this review. In most studies, arsenic exposure was assessed by measurement of urine concentrations or with an ecological indicator. There was a generally positive association between arsenic and albuminuria and proteinuria outcomes. There was mixed evidence of an association between arsenic exposure and chronic kidney disease (CKD), β-2-microglobulin (β2MG), and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) outcomes. There was evidence of a positive association between arsenic exposure and kidney disease mortality. Assessment of a small number of studies with three or more categories showed a clear dose-response association between arsenic and prevalent albuminuria and proteinuria, but not with CKD outcomes. Eight studies lacked adjustment for possible confounders, and two had small study populations. The evaluation of the causality of the association between arsenic exposure and kidney disease outcomes is limited by the small number of studies, lack of study quality, and limited prospective evidence. Because of the high prevalence of arsenic exposure worldwide, there is a need for additional well-designed epidemiologic and mechanistic studies of arsenic and kidney disease outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-207
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Arsenic
  • Kidney
  • Kidney disease
  • Proteinuria
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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