Student Research: Devasmita Chakraverty

, Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH), 2008
Faculty Advisor: James S. Woods

An Evaluation of Potential Risk Factors for Cancer and Non-Cancer Health Effects Associated with Heavy Metal Exposure


In preparation for recommending defensible environmental health standards that protect against potential adverse health effects, this project examines the importance of age, gender, routes of exposure, co-exposure, ethnicity, smoking, socio-economic states (SES), and co-morbidity across health studies that meet criteria for use in potential risk assessments. The chemicals of research interest are tungsten and cadmium and their salts. Potential risk factors are tabulated for cancer and non-cancer health effects in order to determine the applicability of results for the general population. Whereas tungsten has been associated with childhood leukemia and a sparse number of non-carcinogenic diseases in humans, cadmium targets multiple organs in the body for both cancer (lung, prostate, kidney) and other non-carcinogenic diseases (i.e., renal tubular damage, respiratory diseases, varicocele formation in testes). For each end-point with sufficient data, the toxicological mechanism(s) are discussed in light of available information on potential determinants of cancer and non-cancer end-points that meet criteria for conducting future risk assessments. The strengths and limitations of studies are discussed in light of the public health significance of computing a safe limit using these studies.