Rice Intake, Arsenic Exposure, and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease Among US Adults in MESA

Marisa H. Sobel, Tiffany R. Sanchez, Miranda R. Jones, Joel D. Kaufman, Kevin A. Francesconi, Michael J. Blaha, Dhananjay Vaidya, Daichi Shimbo, Walter Gossler, Mary V. Gamble, Jeanine M. Genkinger, Ana Navas-Acien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Arsenic-related cardiovascular effects at exposure levels below the US Environmental Protection Agency's standard of 10 μg/L are unclear. For these populations, food, especially rice, is a major source of exposure. We investigated associations of rice intake, a marker of arsenic exposure, with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) markers in a multiethnic population. Methods and Results: Between 2000 and 2002, MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) enrolled 6814 adults without clinical CVD. We included 5050 participants with baseline data on rice intake and markers of 3 CVD domains: inflammation (hsCRP [high-sensitivity C-reactive protein], interleukin-6, and fibrinogen), vascular function (aortic distensibility, carotid distensibility, and brachial flow-mediated dilation), and subclinical atherosclerosis at 3 vascular sites (carotid intima-media thickness, coronary artery calcification, and ankle-brachial index). We also evaluated endothelial-related biomarkers previously associated with arsenic. Rice intake was assessed by food frequency questionnaire. Urinary arsenic was measured in 310 participants. A total of 13% of participants consumed ≥1 serving of rice/day. Compared with individuals consuming <1 serving of rice/week, ≥1 serving of rice/day was not associated with subclinical markers after demographic, lifestyle, and CVD risk factor adjustment (eg, geometric mean ratio [95% CI] for hsCRP, 0.98 [0.86–1.11]; aortic distensibility, 0.99 [0.91–1.07]; and carotid intima-media thickness, 0.98 [0.91–1.06]). Associations with urinary arsenic were similar to those for rice intake. Conclusions: Rice intake was not associated with subclinical CVD markers in a multiethnic US population. Research using urinary arsenic is needed to assess potential CVD effects of low-level arsenic exposure. Understanding the role of low-level arsenic as it relates to subclinical CVD may contribute to CVD prevention and control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere015658
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 18 2020


  • arsenic
  • cardiovascular disease
  • inflammation
  • rice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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