Why Environmental Regulation Matters For Cancer

Why Environmental Regulation Matters For Cancer

You might recall our shock some time ago when it was discovered that arsenic is present in our water and was linked strongly to skin cancer. At the time, the review publishing the revealing study urged policymakers to pay more attention to arsenic contamination and encouraged Nashville dermatologists like myself to increase our education and skin cancer surveillance in arsenic-endemic areas.

Well - in 2006, the current US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level for arsenic in public water systems (not well water) finally took effect, meaning that they minimized the arsenic levels present. Over time, they aimed to assess national trends in water arsenic exposure in the USA, estimating that the concentration of arsenic found in urine would decrease over time for those using public water systems.

What they found was so interesting and eye-opening: looking at data from 14,177 people between 2003-2014, the concentration of arsenic in urine dramatically decreased. And here’s where my interest was piqued even further: with these lowered levels of arsenic in the water, they estimated a reduction of 200-900 lung and bladder cancer cases or 50 cases of skin cancer per year (depending on the approach used).

While this study was done using the public water system, it suggests that those who use well water are not protected against drinking water arsenic, which only strengthens the need to support further federal regulation to reduce toxic exposure and protect our health.

I’m delighted to hear that at least some regulations are being put in place, and that it has such a tangible effect on one of the conditions I see frequently, skin cancer. The EPA had truly been changed by the government, and I am very grateful to them for protecting us in this way. It’s my hope that they will continue to stay an integral part of our country to protect us as citizens, and carry on such great work.

Are you worried about your risk for skin cancer in Nashville? Visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.

Source:  The Lancet

Related Buzz: Your Water Could Be Causing Skin Cancer

Share this

Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD