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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2013;76(3):192-200. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2013.752324.

Magnesium in drinking water modifies the association between nitrate ingestion and risk of death from esophageal cancer.

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Department of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


The objective of this study was to explore whether magnesium (Mg) levels in drinking water modified the effects of nitrate on esophageal cancer risk occurrence. A matched cancer case-control study was used to investigate the relationship between the risk of death from esophageal cancer and exposure to nitrate in drinking water in Taiwan. All esophageal cancer deaths of Taiwan residents from 2006 through 2010 were obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Taiwan Provincial Department of Health. Controls were deaths from other causes and were pair-matched to cancer cases by gender, year of birth, and year of death. Information on the levels of nitrate-nitrogen (NO(3)-N) and Mg in drinking water were collected from Taiwan Water Supply Corporation (TWSC). The municipality of residence for cancer cases and controls was presumed to be the source of the subject's NO(3)-N and Mg exposure via drinking water. Evidence of an interaction was noted between drinking water NO(3)-N and Mg intake. This is the first study to report effect modification by Mg intake originating from drinking water on an association between NO(3)-N exposure and increased risk mortality attributed to esophageal cancer.

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