EPA Science Inventory

Declaring the Existence of Human Germ-Cell Mutagens

Citation:

DEMARINI, D. M. Declaring the Existence of Human Germ-Cell Mutagens. ENVIRONMENTAL AND MOLECULAR MUTAGENESIS. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ, 53(3):166-72, (2012).

Description:

After more than 80 years of searching for human germ-cell mutagens, I think that sufficient evidence already exists for a number of agents to be so considered, and definitive confirmation seems imminent due to the application ofrecently developed genomic techniques. In preparation for this, an assessment panel ofinternationally recognized experts in germ-cell biology and genomics is required to consider either the current evidence now, or impending genomic evidence later, to declare whether an agent is a human germ-cell mutagen. I propose that such a panel be organized under the aegis ofthe World Health Organization (WHO) and constructed similarly to the working groups assembled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for the evaluation ofhuman carcinogens. Support from prominent national organizations (e.g., NIHINIEHS), as well as international organizations (OECD) would also be important. Many regulatory agencies already have procedures in place for assessing potential human germ-cell mutagens, and the time is approaching when definitive genomic data in humans will obligate such evaluations. In my view, application of an "IARC-type" of assessment using the evidence available already leads to the conclusion that ionizing radiation, cancer chemotherapy, cigarette smoking, and air pollution are "Group 1" human germ-cell mutagens. Consideration ofthe potential adverse health effects to the unexposed offspring of an exposed parent will usher in an entirely new realm ofenvironmental health assessment. I suggest that the long search for human germ-cell mutagens is about to come to an end, and a demonstration of the long-anticipated linkage between heritable disease and environmental factors is poised to begin.

Purpose/Objective:

This commentary suggests that in a few years, human germ-cell mutagens will have been found in the environment, possibly ionizing radiation, smoking, air pollution, and chemotherapy. It proposes that an international panel be assembled to assess the data.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 08/01/2012
Completion Date: 08/01/2012
Record Last Revised: 01/22/2013
Record Created: 01/30/2012
Record Released: 01/30/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 240981

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

INTEGRATED SYSTEMS TOXICOLOGY DIVISION

GENETIC AND CELLULAR TOXICOLOGY BRANCH