Association between Exposure to Desalinated Sea Water and Ischemic Heart Disease, Diabetes Mellitus and Colorectal Cancer; a Population-Based Study in Israel. Environmental Research, 2018. 166: pp. 620-627.
Shlezinger M, Amitai Y, Akriv A, Gabay H, Shechter M, Leventer-Roberts M.
Background: Drinking water (DW) is an important dietary source of magnesium. Recently, Israel has increased its use of desalinated seawater (DSW) as DW country-wide. Its negligible magnesium content, however, raises concern that consumption of DSW may be associated with hypomagnesemia and increase the risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD), diabetes mellitus (DM), and colorectal cancer (CRC).
Objectives: We tested whether there was a change in incidence of negative health outcomes (IHD, DM, and CRC) following the introduction of DSW supply in a population-based ecologic study in Israel.
Methods: A historical prospective analysis was applied to members aged 25-76 during 2004-2013 of Clalit Health Services (Clalit), the largest healthcare provider in Israel, using its electronic medical record database. Multivariable analyses were adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking status, and body mass index.
Results: An increased odds ratio was found for IHD (0.96, 95% CI 0.93-0.99 at baseline and 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.11 at the end of the follow-up period), but no time trend was observed.
Conclusions: We found that the risk for IHD increased during the study period. The risks for DM and CRC were unchanged. Long term studies are needed for assessing the risk for CRC due to the long latency. The higher risk for IHD has practical public health implications and raise the need to add magnesium to DSW.