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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of California-Berkeley

Superfund Research Program

Arsenic Biomarker Epidemiology

Project Leader: Allan H. Smith
Grant Number: P42ES004705
Funding Period: 1995-2022

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The overall goal of this research is to provide information that will allow the population risks from arsenic in drinking water to be more accurately assessed. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has recently ranked arsenic of highest priority among Superfund site hazardous substances. This project is investigating the malignant and non-malignant pulmonary health effects of ingesting inorganic arsenic in drinking water. In addition to lung cancer, evidence from studies in West Bengal and Chile suggest that ingested arsenic may also cause chronic non-malignant pulmonary disease, with exposures during childhood being particularly important. A lung cancer case-control study in Argentina is using individual exposure data to focus on dose-response issues and the potential synergy of arsenic with cigarette smoking. Lung tumor DNA from both this study and a lung cancer study in Chile will be assessed for genetic alterations including p53 mutations, DNA methylation, and changes detectable by comparative genomic hybridization. Also in Chile, arsenic-induced chronic respiratory disease mortality in young adults is being investigated in relation to childhood arsenic exposures. And chronic respiratory disease, arsenic-caused skin lesions, and nutritional susceptibility are being investigated in West Bengal, India. Arsenic effects in children will be a part of this study, as well as studies of children with skin lesions in Bangladesh and Chile.

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