Objectives: Chronic exposure to arsenic has been reported as a risk factor for nonmelanoma skin cancer, notably squamous cell carcinoma. However, current knowledge is limited about the association between arsenic exposure and melanoma. Our objectives were to (1) measure the association between total urinary arsenic levels and melanoma compared with nonmelanoma skin cancer and no cancer and (2) analyze the association between water source and melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. Methods: We collected cross-sectional data from the 2003-2016 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We conducted univariate and multivariate logistic regressions. To evaluate the possible association of skin cancer with source of tap water, we calculated odds ratios for participants with melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, compared with participants with no cancer. Results: White race, higher education, higher socioeconomic status, and smoking history were associated with melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer in the full study population. After adjusting for age and race/ethnicity, the adjusted odds ratio of participants with >50 μg/L of total urinary arsenic for melanoma or nonmelanoma skin cancer was 1.87 (95% CI, 0.58-6.05) and 2.23 (95% CI, 1.12-4.45) times higher compared with no cancer, respectively. Participants with nonmelanoma skin cancer had 2.06 increased odds of reporting a nonmunicipal water source compared with participants without cancer. Conclusions: We did not find a relationship between the incidence of melanoma and exposure to arsenic among US adults. Nonmunicipal water sources were associated with nonmelanoma skin cancer and should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-556
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022


  • arsenic
  • melanoma
  • nonmelanoma skin cancer
  • skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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