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Environ Res. 2000 Mar;82(3):194-206.

Estimating cancer risk from outdoor concentrations of hazardous air pollutants in 1990.

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United States Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M Street, S.W. (2123), Room 3202, Washington, DC 20460, USA.


A public health concern regarding hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) is their potential to cause cancer. It has been difficult to assess potential cancer risks from HAPs, due primarily to lack of ambient concentration data for the general population. The Environmental Protection Agency's Cumulative Exposure Project modeled 1990 outdoor concentrations of HAPs across the United States, which were combined with inhalation unit risk estimates to estimate the potential increase in excess cancer risk for individual carcinogenic HAPs. These were summed to provide an estimate of cancer risk from multiple HAPs. The analysis estimates a median excess cancer risk of 18 lifetime cancer cases per 100,000 people for all HAP concentrations. About 75% of estimated cancer risk was attributable to exposure to polycyclic organic matter, 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, benzene, and chromium. Consideration of some specific uncertainties, including underestimation of ambient concentrations, combining upper 95% confidence bound potency estimates, and changes to potency estimates, found that cancer risk may be underestimated by 15% or overestimated by 40-50%. Other unanalyzed uncertainties could make these under- or overestimates larger. This analysis used 1990 estimates of concentrations and can be used to track progress toward reducing cancer risk to the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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