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Your Environment. Your Health.

Research Highlights

The vision of the NIEHS is to use environmental health sciences to understand human disease and improve human health. Below are some research highlights from NIEHS scientists since its founding in 1966.

Click on the headers below (Date and Title) to sort by year or title. Click on the tags below each highlight to filter by tag, or use the search box to enter a search term.

1967

Asbestos exposure linked to lung tumors, mesotheliomas

asbestos.

Researchers linked asbestos exposure to an increased incidence of lung tumors and mesotheliomas, and found that asbestos-exposed workers who smoke cigarettes have a risk of lung cancer more than ten times as great as asbestos-exposed individuals who do not smoke.

Full Highlight: Asbestos exposure linked to lung tumors, mesotheliomas

Tags: cancer, lung, smoking

1975

Animal models confirm drug DES' role in abnormal development of offspring

pregnant belly

Scientists developed an animal model that predicts and confirms that exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a drug that was prescribed during pregnancy for women from 1938 to 1971 to prevent miscarriages and premature deliveries, can result in various reproductive abnormalities in both male and female offspring. NIEHS children's health researchers have continued to expand research linking early environmental exposures to adult diseases.

Full Highlight: Animal models confirm drug DES' role in abnormal development of offspring

Tags: children's health, women's health

1979

Cognitive, behavioral development delayed in children exposed to lead

School boy

Children's health researchers demonstrated that exposure to very low levels of lead during early childhood can lead to significant delays in cognitive and behavioral development.

Full Highlight: Cognitive, behavioral development delayed in children exposed to lead

Tags: children's health, lead

1980

NTP issues 1st Report on Carcinogens

national toxicoligy program mast head

The National Toxicology Program released the 1st Report on Carcinogens, which listed 26 chemicals and industrial processes with potentially harmful effects on human health. The Report on Carcinogens is an informational scientific and public health document that identifies and discusses agents that may pose a hazard to human health by virtue of their carcinogenicity. It lists these agents in two categories - "known to be human carcinogens" and "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens." Some examples of substances identified as known to be carcinogenic include benzene; asbestos; dioxin, such as 2,3,7,8- Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin; environmental tobacco smoke; and tobacco smoking. The NTP is currently reviewing additional nominations for possible listing in or removal from the 12th Report on Carcinogens. The NTP has identified additional nominations that it may consider for review as either a new listing in or changing the current listing in the 12th RoC.

Full Highlight: NTP issues 1st Report on Carcinogens

Tags: children's health, lead

1993

Particulate exposure linked to increased respiratory problems and risk of early death

smoke stacks

Researchers discovered a strong association between exposure to fine particles, sulfur dioxide, and acid aerosols, and an increase in respiratory symptoms, reduced lung capacity, and risk of early death.

Full Highlight: Particulate exposure linked to increased respiratory problems and risk of early death

Tags: air, lung