Arsenic toxicity and pregnancy outcomes: a case study of West Bengal
Mohua Guha, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Kamla Gupta, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
The health problems due to consumption of arsenic-contaminated water are a serious public health concern in West Bengal. There is extensive documentation of reproductive and fetal developmental effects due to arsenic exposure in animal species with only a handful examining the same in case of human pregnancy outcomes. This paper examines the adverse pregnancy outcomes (in terms of live births, stillbirths, spontaneous abortions and preterm births) of women both in the exposed (drinking arsenic-contaminated water) and non-exposed groups. A cross-sectional case-control study was conducted in Murshidabad district, West Bengal. The study population was composed of ever-married women in the reproductive age (15-49 years) who previously had at least one pregnancy. Adverse pregnancy outcomes measured as spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and preterm birth rates were 68.8, 53.1, and 68.8 per 1000 live births, respectively, among the exposed group and 23.7, 23.7, and 27.1 per 1000 live births, respectively, among the non-exposed group.