Sunlight, PCB exposure enhance skin cancer chances

ioxin exposure), served as a sunscreen, at least during early stages of exposure to UV light, Cope said.

Our results were complex, but it was clear that tumor growth was dependant on whether or not an animals skin was irradiated, Cope said. The only time we saw tumors at any site was in the presence of UV irradiation. It was clear that UV light promotes the development of tumors at non-light-exposed sites that were probably initiated by exposure to PCBs and PCDFs.

In 1998, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, there were up to 1.2 million cases of non-melanona skin cancers in the United States, a number that may be underreported, Cope said. Soil used in the study came from the Sangamo Landfill on the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, said collaborator Larry G. Hansen, a professor of veterinary biosciences. It had a high PCB content, at least as high as some areas in Anniston, Ala.

Numerous lawsuits have resulted since the 1970s, when Monsanto ended 40 years of production of PCB, which was used to insulate electrical transformers, at its Anniston plant. PCB contamination is a more widespread problem than most people realize, Hansen said, noting that millions of dollars are being spent on clean-up projects on the Hudson River in the northeast and in the Anniston area. Several industrial areas of Europe also are highly contaminated, he added.


Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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