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.
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Asbestos exposure linked to lung tumors, mesotheliomas
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.
Animal models confirm drug DES' role in abnormal development of offspring
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.
Cognitive, behavioral development delayed in children exposed to lead
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.
NTP issues 1st Report on Carcinogens
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.
Particulate exposure linked to increased respiratory problems and risk of early death
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.