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Toxic exposures and psychiatric disease - lessons from the epidemiology of cancer.
Acta Psychiatr Scand 1983; 67(303):6-15
Evidence linking human cancer to toxic environmental exposures is reviewed. It is suggested that epidemiological research may also uncover a relationship between toxic exposures and psychiatric diseases. As recently as 20 years ago it was generally believed that cancer inevitably accompanied aging; it is now thought that 80 to 90 percent of cancers worldwide may be of environmental origin. In psychiatry, etiologic thinking on chemical exposure appears to be at a similar point. Studies of geographic variation in cancer occurrence are discussed. Evaluation of migrant populations to separate environmental from genetic factors in studies of cancer etiology is examined. Trends in cancer incidence over time and identification of specific causes of certain cancers are considered. Confirmed human carcinogens are listed. Numbers of persons potentially exposed to neurotoxic chemicals in the United States are estimated, but it is noted that few chemicals have been evaluated for neurotoxicity. The author concludes that research into the environmental causes of cancer may enable delineation of the scope and nature of psychiatric impairments caused by environmental neurotoxins. Carefully designed, epidemiological studies of several nations similar to those conducted for evaluation of the etiology of cancer are suggested.
NIOSH-Author; Toxicology; Chemical-properties; Biological-effects; Epidemiology; Exposure-levels; Disease-incidence; Biological-factors; Carcinogenicity; Pathogenesis
Issue of Publication
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division