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Co-Contaminant Calamities: Arsenic and Influenza

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  • Co-Contaminant Calamities: Arsenic and Influenza
    Co-Contaminant Calamities: Arsenic and Influenza
    By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, Ph.D.
    Water Conditioning & Purification, July 2009

    Arsenic-exposed mice experienced an increase in illness
    severity and higher numbers of viruses in the lung.
    Although a
    delayed immune response occurred in these mice, the response
    was massive, with immune cells flooding the lungs and causing
    additional lung damage and resulting in increased illness.
    Measures of illness were significantly greater in mice exposed
    to arsenic compared to those that were not.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that many
    areas around the world utilize drinking water supplies with
    arsenic levels in excess of 10 ppm, including the US, Mexico and
    southeast Asia. These areas have also experienced some of the
    highest number of cases of swine flu.

    Controlling disease impacts
    According to the study above, arsenic exposures exacerbated
    health outcomes related to swine flu infections. In fact, multiple
    alterations in the immune response were noted in arsenic-exposed
    mice, signifying the complexity of toxin interactions with hosts
    at the molecular and cellular level.
    Guidelines for controlling arsenic exposures are not always
    practical for all regions. The WHO recommends monitoring water
    supplies and using dual systems of collection and/or distribution
    for arsenic-rich water, safe for laundering and bathing and low
    arsenic water for drinking. Rainwater and treated surface waters
    may also be used as a substitute for groundwater supplies high
    in arsenic.
    Technology is available for removal of arsenic from drinking
    water (see On Tap, October 2008) but is often expensive and
    technically difficult for applications in many rural areas,
    particularly in developing countries. Low-cost chemical packets
    for household treatment designed to remove arsenic and
    inactivate microbial pathogens have been developed and have
    proven successful in Latin America (see On Tap, April 2006).
    Identifying environmental risk factors that exacerbate
    influenza and possibly other respiratory infections is a vital
    health need and may help to minimize the impact of potential
    pandemic outbreaks in the future. More studies are needed to
    determine the causal relationship of co-contaminants in water
    and human disease and to evaluate the role of other waterborne
    toxins relative to infectious disease manifestation.

    Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is an Associate Professor at
    the University of Arizona College of Public Health.
    She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health
    (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and
    a doctorate in microbiology from the University of
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________
    "Well, now." Mr. Summers said soberly, "guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go
    back to work. Anybody ain't here?" ---The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

    “‘i love myself.’ the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever.” ---- nayyirah waheed

    (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
    Never forget Excalibur.

  • #2
    Re: Co-Contaminant Calamities: Arsenic and Influenza

    I remember an old farm wife telling me about an insecticide used, when she was young, on produce she called; "Arsenic O' Lead. That was what was in the powder. While I would not be surprised if it was an effective pesticide I wonder if it had any effect on the severity of the flu in individuals who consumed the produce? Could this have been a factor in why some communities/countries were harder hit with historic flus than others?
    We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.