If you remember the 2004 “May I please have some more arsenic in my water, mommy?” campaign directed at President George W. Bush, this story is for you.
The study itself is not much to speak of as it is based on weak and/or statistically insignificant associations, only considered a few confounding risk factors (age, BMI, smoking status and education) and only followed study subjects for an average of six years. So it has a lot in common with other arsenic studies that the EPA relied on to (unjustly and expensively) tighten drinking water standards in 2001.
Adding his two cents in an accompanying commentary is Berkeley’s Allan H. Smith, a long-time pusher of the arsenic-in-drinking water scare.
Interestingly, this study was funded by U.S. taxpayers — even though the study subjects were Bangladeshis and the average drinking water concentration of arsenic was more than six times the U.S. standard. It would seem that the National Institutes of Health ought to have more relevant things to do with our money.