Tags: Cancer | arsenic | cancer | tap | water

Is Your Tap Water Giving You Cancer?

By    |   Tuesday, 08 July 2014 04:50 PM


Even low doses of arsenic in drinking water, similar to what some people might consume, have been linked to lung cancer in a new laboratory study of mice.

The research, conducted by medical investigators with the National Institutes of Health, raises questions about whether current allowable levels of arsenic in tap water are acceptable, Medical Xpress reports.

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Arsenic levels in public drinking water cannot exceed 10 parts per billion (ppb), the standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But there are no established standards for private wells, from which millions of people get their drinking water.
 
In this study, the concentrations given to the mice in their drinking water were 50 ppb, 500 ppb, and 5,000 ppb. 50 ppb is the lowest concentration that has been tested in an animal study, and researchers explained that because of differing rates of metabolism, mice need to be exposed to greater concentrations of arsenic than humans to achieve the same biological dose and similar health effects that might be expected over a lifetime.
 
The results showed more than half of the male mice developed significant increases in benign and malignant lung tumors at the two lower doses (50 ppb and 500 ppb). Females also developed benign tumors at the lower concentrations. Interestingly, the researchers did not find significant increases in lung tumors in either sex at the highest dose (5,000 ppb).
 
"This is the first study to show tumor development in animals exposed to very low levels of arsenic, levels similar to which humans might be exposed," said lead researcher Michael Waalkes, director of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory. "The results are unexpected and certainly give cause for concern."
 
Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance and is also tied to human activity. Arsenic is found in many foods, including grains, fruits, and vegetables, which absorb it from the soil and water. This study focused on inorganic arsenic, which often occurs in excess in the drinking water of millions of people worldwide, and has been previously shown to be a human carcinogen.
 
"Although this is only one study, it adds to a growing body of evidence showing adverse health effects from very low exposures to arsenic, raising the possibility that no level of arsenic appears to be safe," said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and NTP.

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Trace amounts of arsenic in drinking water, similar to what some people might consume, have been linked to lung cancer in a new laboratory study of mice.The research, conducted by the NIH, raises questions about whether current arsenic regulations are stringent enough.
arsenic, cancer, tap, water
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2014-50-08
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 04:50 PM
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