Arsenic exposure has been associated with decreased club cell secretory protein (CC16) levels in adults. In addition, both arsenic exposure and decreased levels of CC16 in childhood have been associated with decreased adult lung function.
[Photo: Dr. Paloma Beamer]
Researchers at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the UA Asthma and Airways Disease Research Center examined urinary CC16 levels in children to determine if they are associated with arsenic concentrations in environmental media collected from their homes. Yard soil, house dust, and tap water were taken from 34 homes. Urine and toenail samples were collected from 68 children. All concentrations were natural log-transformed prior to data analysis. The study is published in the journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
There were associations between urinary CC16 and arsenic concentration in soil (b = −0.43, p = 0.001, R2 = 0.08), water (b = −0.22, p = 0.07, R2 = 0.03), house dust (b = −0.37, p = 0.07, R2 = 0.04), and dust loading (b = −0.21, p = 0.04, R2 = 0.04). In multiple analyses, only the concentration of arsenic in soil was associated with urinary CC16 levels (b = −0.42, p = 0.02, R2 = 0.14 (full model)) after accounting for other factors.
The association between urinary CC16 and soil arsenic may suggest that localized arsenic exposure in the lungs could damage the airway epithelium and predispose children for diminished lung function. Future work to assess this possible mechanism should examine potential associations between airborne arsenic exposures, CC16 levels, lung function, and other possible confounders in children in arsenic-impacted communities.