Arsenic can get into the drinking water because of pollution associated with the burning of coal or copper smelting. But it can also get into drinking water when certain minerals naturally dissolve. Before anyone stops drinking the water, much more research needs to be conducted. This study of 788 adults authored by Dr. Ana Navas-Acien of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore simply found that the risk of diabetes in people with low arsenic concentrations in their urine was four times greater than people with lower arsenic levels. While foreign research suggests a link between high levels of arsenic in drinking water with diabetes, this is one of the first studies to suggest a similar correlation with low arsenic levels. (See August 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association.)
Molly Kile, a scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote an editorial in the journal
in which she explained that urinary arsenic can come from "air, water and food. Kile cautions against a rush to adopt drinking water standards as a result of the study. Kile also correctly points out that diabetes may changes the way people metabolize arsenic. In other words, perhaps people with diabetes simply excrete more arsenic.