Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology


Geisel School of Medicine


High levels of arsenic exposure have been associated with increases in cardiovascular disease risk. However, studies of arsenic’s effects at lower exposure levels are limited and few prospective studies exist in the United States using long-term arsenic exposure biomarkers. We conducted a prospective analysis of the association between toenail arsenic and cardiovascular disease mortality using longitudinal data collected on 3939 participants in the New Hampshire Skin Cancer Study. Using Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for potential confounders, we estimated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals associated with the risk of death from any cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke, in relation to natural-log transformed toenail arsenic concentrations. In this US population, although we observed no overall association, arsenic exposure measured from toenail clipping samples was related to an increased risk of ischemic heart disease mortality among long-term smokers (as reported at baseline), with increased hazard ratios among individuals with ≥ 31 total smoking years (HR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.02, 2.27), ≥ 30 pack-years (HR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.12, 2.45), and among current smokers (HR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.75). These results are consistent with evidence from more highly exposed populations suggesting a synergistic relationship between arsenic exposure and smoking on health outcomes and support a role for lower-level arsenic exposure in ischemic heart disease mortality.