Arsenic: number one environmental health threat


Thursday April 28, 2011
Redfield Auditorium - 12:00 Noon
Dr. Joshua Hamilton
Senior Scientist, Bay Paul Center, MBL
Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University
Chief Academic and Scientific Officer, MBL

Arsenic has long been known to have toxic effects at high doses, but in recent decades has emerged as a serious human health threat at what were previously considered to be low levels in food and water.  As many as 25 million people in the US are exposed to excess arsenic, and worldwide the numbers may be 500 million or more.  The list of disease risks with which arsenic exposure has been associated is extensive and grows each year as new information emerges, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Our lab previously discovered that arsenic is a potent endocrine disruptor, acting through a unique mechanism to affect many different hormone receptors and leading to pathophysiological consequences.  We also recently reported that arsenic suppresses innate immune function and has significant effects on fetal growth and development.