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Priorities in the investigation of human health hazards in the plastics and synthetic rubber industries

  • Irving J. Selikoff
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1976
  • Chemistry


Experiences in the past decade provide guidance in selecting priorities for investigation of health hazards in chemical industries. Pride of place should be given to the experience of large industrial populations, in part simply because large numbers of people are at risk and in part because such studies are more likely to give reliable answers. This recommendation has further strength when there is community exposure as well. Parenthetically, large populations provide opportunity to study multiple factor interaction; without this, toxic potential of a single agent may be obscured. Second, investigations should be mounted when there is reason for suspicion, as with particular chemical configurations, observed organ toxicity, animal carcinogenicity, unusual clinical experience (“signal” tumors). It may be added that when agents have already been used several decades, evaluation of human experience with them is now in order, if only to document absence of toxicity. The same recommendations hold for planned introduction of new agents or widened distribution of existing ones, until we have better information concerning validity of “pretesting” programs.

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