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Risk of Internal Cancers from Arsenic in Drinking Water

By Morales, Knashawn H.

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Book Id: WPLBN0000153707
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.2 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005

Title: Risk of Internal Cancers from Arsenic in Drinking Water  
Author: Morales, Knashawn H.
Language: English
Subject: Government publications, United Nations., United Nations. Office for Disarmament Affairs
Collections: Government Library Collection, Disarmament Documents
Publication Date:
Publisher: United Nations- Office for Disarmament Affairs (Unoda)


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Morales, K. H. (n.d.). Risk of Internal Cancers from Arsenic in Drinking Water. Retrieved from

Government Reference Publication

Excerpt: A metal found in rocks and mineral formations in the earths crust, arsenic has long been associated with the development of cancer in humans. Exposure can occur via inhalation, primarily in industrial settings, or through ingestion. Because drinking water is one of the primary routes of exposure, standards set in 1942 established a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 50 micrograms/L in drinking water. In 1975, 50 micrograms/L was adopted as the interim standard in response to the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act (1). In a 1984 health assessment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified arsenic as a class A human carcinogen, based primarily on epidemiologic evidence, and produced quantitative risk estimates for both ingestion and inhalation routes of exposure (2). Although the EPA assessment for the inhalation route is well accepted, the risk assessment for ingestion remains controversial. The 1984 risk assessment for arsenic in drinking water was based on an epidemiologic study in Taiwan that examined an association between arsenic exposure via drinking water and skin cancer (nonmelanoma) (3). EPA investigators estimated that the lifetime risk of skin cancer for individuals who consumed 2 L water per day at 50 micrograms/L could be as high as 2 in 1,000. This high value prompted questions about the 1984 risk assessment, including applicability of the risk assessment to the U.S.


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