National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)

Arsenic and Bladder Cancer: Observations and Suggestions


Arsenic from drinking water is a well-known risk factor for bladder cancer. The purpose of this paper is to systematize some important yet often overlooked facts considering the relationship between arsenic exposure and the occurrence of bladder cancer. Since the exposure to inorganic arsenic from food, inhaled air, and skin absorption as well as arsenic methylation ability are not fully investigated, our assumption is that the exposure of arsenic only from drinking water is underestimated and its role as a risk factor is highly overestimated. This paper proposes some qualitative and quantitative parameters of arsenic as a risk factor for bladder cancer. The recommended qualitative parameters of arsenic intake are first, pathways of exposure, and second, toxicity and metabolism. The suggested quantitative parameters of arsenic intake include amounts of arsenic absorbed in the body, duration of arsenic exposure, and duration of arsenic presence in the urinary bladder. This approach can be implemented in a systematic classification and explanation of various risk factors and their mutual interactions for other types of cancer or diseases in general.

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