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Carcinogens

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Toothpaste & Spas
X-Ray Techs & Radium Workers
EPA:
Environmental Regulation dates mainly from 1970s
Uses the linear model, for lack of a better alternative
An alternative: the hockey-stick model
Regulation by tort law
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
Questions:
How do we know what to regulate?
(50% of tested chemicals are carcinogens)
What about that hazing accident where a student died of an
overdose of water?
How do we know what the lethal dose is?
(linear versus hockey stick)
How do we set priorities?
How do natural pesticides and chemicals enter the problem?
Framework: HERP, a normalized risk indicator.
Find dosage that reduces survivorship of test animals to 50%.
Calculate human equivalent (by relative weight)
Figure out how much of that dose the human is getting.
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
Is the issue only about science? What about social science?
For example, aflatoxins are made by mold, which is partially
preventable. Should we ban peanut butter? Celery?
“Physicist-sociologists of risk need to note that some of
the recent work in the study of economic behavior has
provided a framework for a more complex analysis of
consumer choice in the marketplace in place of simple
comparisons of marginal benefit and cost.
- Ellen K. Silbergeld
Environmental Defense Fund
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
“The proposal by Bruce N. Ames et al for ranking risk of
carcinogens, while elegant in structure, is not realistic or
implementable. First, as a basis for the HERP (human
Exposure dose/Rodent potency dose), it relies heavily on
the assumption that there are reliable data on exposure . . .
When this lack of data is factored into an equation already
burdened by the range of unresolved issues and
uncertainties of risk assessment, it is doubtful how much
practical use the approach of Ames et al. can be.”
- Ellen K. Silbergeld
Environmental Defense Fund
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
Second, any comprehensive system ranking risk should be
capable of devolution to deal with risk control decisions at
the margin. That is, it is important to be able to determine
how to deal with, for instance, risks of dioxin from
incinerator emissions in populations who smoke, eat
certain foods, sunbathe, or otherwise engage in risky
business. It is hard to know how to use the approach of
Ames et al. for this critical assessment.
- Ellen K. Silbergeld
Environmental Defense Fund
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
Finally, the approach of Ames et al. and much of the
discussion of risk assessment in Science and elswhere
continues to confine our national debate to one end point –
cancer risk. While evaluating the potential risks of chemicals
and as carcinogens is important, the human disease and
dysfunction that can reasonably be associated with impacts of
chemical exposure and environmental modifications are likely
to be expressed in many other outcomes.”
- Ellen K. Silbergeld
Environmental Defense Fund
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
• “A powerful Litigen” following Vietnam
• The science of dioxin: very toxic to animals
What about to humans? What is the mechanism?
• The science in humans:
Dioxin stays in fat cells, so we know exposure.
Dioxin needs receptors, but at what exposures?
Can dioxin cause congenital disorders in offspring?
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
• Returning soldiers sued the US government and
producers sued health effects.
EPA regulates.
• How do we know who was harmed? What kinds of
epidemiological studies were done?
• The politics: National Academies of Sciences (Institute
of Medicine) issued a somewhat discredited report.
This is a big deal for NAS.
• Gough at OTA, a big critic: Says IOM issued an
unsubstantiated report. What is Gough’s argument
about conflict of interest?
• Should I be afraid of Weed-b-Gone?
В© Slides originate with S.Maurer 2004, Pursuant to Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial Common Deed 1.0
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