Socioeconomic status and the association between arsenic exposure and type 2 diabetes

Stephanie M. Eick, Catterina Ferreccio, Johanna Acevedo, Felicia Castriota, José F. Cordero, Taehyun Roh, Allan H. Smith, Martyn T. Smith, Craig Steinmaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Evaluate whether arsenic-related diabetes risks differ between people of low and high socioeconomic status (SES). Methods: We used data collected between October 2007-December 2010 from a population-based cancer case-control study (N = 1301) in Northern Chile, an area with high arsenic water concentrations (>800 µg/L) and comprehensive records of past exposure. Information on lifetime exposure and potential confounders were obtained using structured interviews, questionnaires, and residential histories. Type 2 diabetes was defined as physician-diagnosed diabetes or oral hypoglycemic medication use. SES was measured using a 14-point scale based on ownership of household appliances, cars, internet access, or use of domestic help. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between arsenic and diabetes within strata of SES. Results: Among those with low SES, the odds ratio (OR) for diabetes comparing individuals in the highest to lowest tertile of lifetime average arsenic exposure was 2.12 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29–3.49, p = 0.004). However, those in the high SES group were not at increased risk (OR = 1.12 [95% CI = 0.72–1.73]). Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence that risks of arsenic-related diabetes may be higher in Chile in people with low versus high SES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-585
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Arsenic
  • Health disparities
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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