NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Genetic Susceptibility and the Estimation of Risk.

Omenn GS
NIOSH 1985 May:24 pages
Genetic susceptibility and its effect on risk assessment were discussed. The author indicates that individuals respond differently to exposures to potentially hazardous chemicals and these differences in susceptibility constitute a significant variable when evaluating the risks to their health posed by the chemicals. Differences in susceptibility can be due to factors such as genetic traits, age, sex, the presence of preexisting diseases, behavioral traits, concomitant exposures, medications and vitamins, and individual protective measures and work practices. A framework for conducting a risk assessment was outlined. It consists of a hazard identification step, a characterization step, and a control step. Genetic factors must be factored into the procedure. Preexisting genetic damage or genetic deficiencies may increase susceptibility to exogenous agents. Polygenic inheritance and genetic/environmental interactions including the role of nutrition are considered more important than single gene traits in creating host susceptibility to chemical agents. Examples of genetic predispositions to chemical agents arising from differences in metabolism and tissue sensitivity were discussed. These include the acetylator phenotype, debrisoquine metabolism polymorphism, plasma paraoxonase activity, hemolysis due to glucose-6-phosphate- dehydrogenase deficiency, and the effects of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. The author concludes that recognizing individuals or groups of individuals at increased risk for adverse effects from chemical agents due to genetic or other factors is an important aspect of risk assessment and requires greater efforts to reduce or minimize exposures to such agents.
Risk-analysis; Genetic-factors; Occupational-exposure; Environmental-exposure; Occupational-health; Health-protection; Risk-factors; Enzyme-activity;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Proceedings of a Symposium on Epidemiology and Health Risk Assessment, Columbia, Maryland, May 14-16, 1985, Centers for Disease Control/NIOSH, 24 pages, 33 references
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division