Arsenic exposure has been linked to poor pulmonary function, and inefficient arsenic metabolizers may be at increased risk. Dietary rice has recently been identified as a possible substantial route of exposure to arsenic, and it remains unknown whether it can provide a sufficient level of exposure to affect pulmonary function in inefficient metabolizers. Within 12,609 participants of HCHS/SOL, asthma diagnoses and spirometry-based measures of pulmonary function were assessed, and rice consumption was inferred from grain intake via a food frequency questionnaire. After stratifying by smoking history, the relationship between arsenic metabolism efficiency [percentages of inorganic arsenic (%iAs), monomethylarsenate (%MMA), and dimethylarsinate (%DMA) species in urine] and the measures of pulmonary function were estimated in a two-sample Mendelian randomization approach (genotype information from an Illumina HumanOmni2.5-8v1-1 array), focusing on participants with high inferred rice consumption. Among never-smoking high inferred consumers of rice (n = 1395), inefficient metabolism was associated with past asthma diagnosis and forced vital capacity below the lower limit of normal (LLN) (OR 1.40, p = 0.0212 and OR 1.42, p = 0.0072, respectively, for each percentage-point increase in %iAs; OR 1.26, p = 0.0240 and OR 1.24, p = 0.0193 for %MMA; OR 0.87, p = 0.0209 and OR 0.87, p = 0.0123 for the marker of efficient metabolism, %DMA). Among ever-smoking high inferred consumers of rice (n = 1127), inefficient metabolism was associated with peak expiratory flow below LLN (OR 1.54, p = 0.0108/percentage-point increase in %iAs, OR 1.37, p = 0.0097 for %MMA, and OR 0.83, p = 0.0093 for %DMA). Less efficient arsenic metabolism was associated with indicators of pulmonary dysfunction among those with high inferred rice consumption, suggesting that reductions in dietary arsenic could improve respiratory health.
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