New model for cancer risk assessment of complex environmental mixtures

The WHO has estimated that air pollution causes approximately 7 million premature deaths annually, making it the single largest environmental health risk. Air pollution consists of many pollutants including particulate matter containing several toxic chemicals (eg, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons/PAHs and metals). This complexity makes risk assessment difficult because the various components can interact and cause health effects that are difficult to assess. A major weakness of the current risk assessment models is that they do not take these interactions into account. There is therefore a great demand for new models based on the assessment of whole mixtures or environmental samples.

In the research group’s latest publication, in order to better validate this model, MPFs were determined for standard reference materials (SRMs) representing three different types of exposures that have been classified as carcinogenic to humans: outdoor air pollution, diesel exhaust, and coal tar. An important aspect was that the cancer potency of these SRMs has already been evaluated in animal experiments, which allowed a comparison of potencies between our in vitro-model and in vivo– cancer data. The results showed that in vitro MPFs agreed very well with potency values ​​based on animal data.

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