Examining arsenic levels from surface soil and drinking water sources and it contribution to the occurrence of low birth weight infants in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, Florida

Authors: Maya P. Scott-Richardson*, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Marilyn O'hara Ruiz, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Rebecca L. Smith, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Topics: Environmental Science, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: arsenic; low birth weight; environmental health; and statistical analysis
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


Arsenic is a special public health concern because of its widespread distribution and high toxicity, even when doses are small. Chronic exposure to arsenic results in cancer, low birth weight (LBW), and childbirth complications. The objective of this study is to determine the spatial patterns of arsenic and examine the relationship between the distribution of arsenic concentrations in surface soil, drinking water sources, and LBW in infants. Approximately 137 surface soil samples were collected across the two counties. Private water well data was obtained from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, geocoded by address, and untested wells omitted. To measure LBW, we obtained data on birth weight, child and maternal demographic information, and residential location data from the Bureau of Vital Statistics at the Florida Department of Health for the years 2005, 2010, and 2015. We used multivariate statistical approaches to analyze and compare the variability of LBW as a factor of arsenic levels in soil and water. The models control for individual risk factors and socio-economic characteristics of the population. These health outcome models assess the degree to which arsenic levels at the local level contribute to the risk of LBW.

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