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Arch Environ Health. 1989 May-Jun;44(3):180-91.

Epidemiologic and toxicologic evidence for chronic health effects and the underlying biologic mechanisms involved in sub-lethal exposures to acidic pollutants.

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Department of Health Services Administration and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Since the 1880s, a disparate and extensive literature has evolved examining the biologic effects of acidification on cells. More recently, effects on the health of human and other species of acidic agents contained, for example, in pollutants have been suggested, particularly relating to long-term exposures. This paper provides a review of the epidemiologic and toxicologic evidence concerning health effects--particularly carcinogenicity--attributable to sub-lethal acid exposure. Underlying biologic mechanisms that explain adverse health outcomes include pH modulation of toxicity for a number of xenobiotics (including carcinogens, genotoxins, and teratogens), and low-pH-induced changes of cells involving, for example, alterations in mitotic and enzyme regulation. More focused research is recommended to test the relationship between long-term exposures to acidic agents (with a consequent lowered cellular pH) and various health effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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