Health Mechanisms and Outcomes

  • Michael E. McDowall
Chapter

Abstract

The identification of possible environmental hazards to health depends largely on epidemiological measurement of health outcomes in exposed populations. However, as the examples in the previous chapter have indicated, the issues are seldom clear-cut. Problems of exposure assessment, small numbers of exposed individuals, confounding variables and other difficulties invariably beset the investigator. In addition, it is difficult for purely epidemiological methods to finally prove causality, even if a clear association is identified. The biological plausibility for a suggested association must therefore be examined, and this chapter reviews briefly the mechanisms by which environmental pollutants may affect health and how these are assessed. The review is necessarily brief and non-specific, because new research findings are continually being reported. Rather than attempt to provide a complete listing of suggested pollutants and toxins, this chapter aims to indicate the strengths and weaknesses of toxicological research in aiding the identification of environmental hazards to health.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Buffler, P. A. and Aase, J. M. (1982). Genetic risks and environmental surveillance. J. Occup. Med., 24, 305Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rothman, K. J. (1982). Causation and causal inference. In Schottenfeld, D. and Fraumeni, J. F. (Eds.), Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Evans, A. S. (1982). Viruses. In Schottenfeld, D. and Fraumeni, J. F. (Eds.), Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lie, F. P. (1982). Cancer in children. In Schottenfeld, D. and Fraumeni, J. F. (Eds.), Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Stolley, P. D. and Hibberd, P. L. (1982). Drugs. In Schottenfeld, D. and Fraumeni, J. F. (Eds.), Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sanders, B. M., White, G. C. and Draper, G. J. (1981). Occupations of fathers of children dying from neoplasms. J. Epidemiol. Comm. Hlth, 35, 245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hemminki, K., Saloniemi, I., Salonen, T., Partanen, T. and Vainio, H. (1981).J. Epidemiol. Comm. Hlth, 35, 11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Correa, P. (1982). Morphology and natural history of precursor lesions. In Schottenfeld, D. and Fraumeni, J. F. (Eds.), Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Brown, N. A. (1985). Are offspring at risk from their father’s exposure to toxins? Nature, Lond., 316, 110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    National Institutes of Health (1971). Report of the committee for the study of monitoring of human mutagenesis. In Hook, E. B., Janerich, D. T. and Porter, I. H. (Eds.), Monitoring Birth Defects and Environment. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nordstrom, S., Nordenson, I. and Mild, K. H. (1984). Genetic and reproductive hazards in high voltage substations. Radiat. Envir. Biophys., 23, 191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Walby, A. L., Merret, J. D., Dean, G. and Kirke, P. (1981). Sex ratio of births in Ireland, 1978. Ulster Med. J., 50, 83Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schull, W. J. (1984). Reproductive problems: fertility, teratogenesis and mutagenesis. Arch. Envir. Hlth, 39, 207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kalter, H. and Warkany, J. (1983). Congenital malformations: etiologic factors and their role in prevention. New Engl. J. Med., 308, 424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kingberg, M. A. and Papier, C. M. (1979). Environmental teratogens. Contr. Epidemiol. Biostatist., 1, 1Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Erickson, J. D., Cochran, W. M. and Anderson, C. E. (1979). Parental occupation and birth defects. Contr. Epidemiol. Biostatist., 1, 107Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    McDowall, M. E. (1985). Occupational Reproductive Epidemiology. O.P.C.S. SMPS No. 50. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pirkle, J. L., Schwartz, J., Landis, J. R. and Howlan, W. R. (1985). The relationship between blood lead levels and blood pressure and its cardiovascular risk implications. Am. J. Epidemiol.., 121, 246Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Williams, A. (1984). MPTP parkinsonism. Br. Med. J., 289, 1401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jarvis, S. N., Straube, R. C., Williams, A. J. L. and Bartlett, C. L. R. (1985). Illness associated with contamination of drinking water supplies with phenol. Br. Med. J., 290, 1800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hemminki, K., Sousa, M. and Vainio, H. (1979). Genetic risks caused by occupational chemicals. Scand. J. Wk Envir. Hlth, 5, 307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Office of Technology Assessment (1982). Cancer Risk. Westview, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tomatis, L., Breslow, N. E. and Bartsch, H. (1982). Experimental studies in the assessment of human risk. In Schottenfeld, D. and Fraumeni, J. F. (Eds.), Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Calabrese, E. J. (1983). Principles of Animal Extrapolation. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Du Mouchel, W. H. and Harris, J. E. (1983). Bayes methods for combining the results of cancer studies in humans and other species. J.A.S.A.,78, 293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Doll, R. (1975). Pott and the prospects for prevention. Br. J. Cancer, 32, 263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Salmon, A. G. (1985). Does acute toxicity testing tell us anything useful? Methyl isocyanate as a test case. Br. J. Ind. Med., 42, 577Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael E. McDowall 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael E. McDowall

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations