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Epidemiology and Risk Assessment.

Upton AC
NIOSH 1985 May:35 pages
Epidemiology and risk assessment were discussed. According to the author, epidemiological studies play an important role in detecting, validating, quantifying, and monitoring the effect of various risk factors on human health. It is noted that a major challenge facing epidemiology today is the necessity to explain the marked temporal, geographic, and ethnic differences in the incidence of cancer and other diseases that have been observed in recent decades. For most types of cancer the age adjusted incidence of the United States population has remained relatively constant in recent decades; however, the incidence of stomach cancer has decreased while that of lung cancer has risen sharply. The reason for the decreasing rate of stomach cancer is not clear; the increase in lung cancer incidence is attributable mostly to cigarette smoking. Dose response assessments were considered. Threshold and nonthreshold responses were discussed. Epidemiologic studies have indicated that carcinogenesis does not have a threshold. For example, the dose response curve relating the incidence of lung cancer in smokers to the number of cigarettes smoked per day implies that even passive inhalation of cigarette smoke by nonsmokers may increase the cancer risk. Multicausal multistage dose response models for carcinogenesis were discussed. The development of lung cancer according to the multistage model involves at least four discrete stages. The risk of lung cancer in exsmokers stops rising relatively quickly after smoking is stopped, indicating that cigarette smoke probably acts as a promoter or at a late stage in the carcinogenesis process. The synergistic effect shown by asbestos (1332214) and cigarette smoke suggests that these agents exert their carcinogenic effects on the lung by different mechanisms; otherwise their combined effects would simply be additive.
Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Lung-cancer; Dose-response; Mathematical-models; Cigarette-smoking; Carcinogenicity;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury;
Source Name
Proceedings of a Symposium on Epidemiology and Health Risk Assessment, Columbia, Maryland, May 14-16, 1985, Centers for Disease Control/NIOSH, 35 pages, 39 references
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division