National Academies Press: OpenBook

Drinking Water and Health,: Volume 5 (1983)

Chapter: III. Epidemiology of the Adverse Health Effects of Arsenic and Asbestos in Drinking Water

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Suggested Citation:"III. Epidemiology of the Adverse Health Effects of Arsenic and Asbestos in Drinking Water." National Research Council. 1983. Drinking Water and Health,: Volume 5. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/326.
Page 118

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Ill Epidemiology of the Adverse Health Effects of Arsenic and Asbestos in Drinking Water Both arsenic and asbestos were reviewed in earlier volumes of the Drinking Water arid Health series. The discussions in this chapter are limited primarily to important new epidemiological data that became available after Volumes 1 and 3 had been completed and to reassessments of some older studies of effects of arsenic and asbestos in human populations. ARSENIC Arsenic was evaluated in the first and third volumes of Drinking Water and Health (National Research Council, 1977a, pp. 316-344; 1980, pp. 337-345~. It was also comprehensively evaluated in 1977 by another com- mittee (National Research Council, 1977b). Epidemiological studies re- viewed in those volumes have provided conflicting associations between the presence of arsenic in drinking water and the development of skin cancer. Some studies discussed below were reviewed in previous volumes, while several were published after the previous volumes were prepared. One of the new reports evaluated by the committee is a review of the carcinogenic- ity data on arsenic, which was prepared by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (1980~. That agency concluded that, although there is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of arsenic compounds in ani- mals, there is "sufficient evidence that inorganic arsenic compounds are skin and lung carcinogens in humans." This statement presumably applies to all sources of arsenic, including drinking water. It is based on the conflict-

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