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Your Environment. Your Health.

Health Effects and Mitigation of Arsenic: Current Research Efforts and Future Directions

March 3-4, 2014
NIEHS Main Campus, Rall Building, Rodbell A, B, C

Purpose of the Workshop

This workshop highlighted significant new and emerging research on low-dose exposure to arsenic in human health (cancer and non-cancer) such as environmental and endogenous bioavailability associated with arsenic toxicity, susceptibility to arsenic's health effects, advanced techniques to understand arsenic in health and environment, and current mitigation/remediation efforts of arsenic in the US and globally. Speakers and participants represented a range of scientific expertise (e.g., epidemiology, human and animal toxicology, exposure, chemistry, microbiology, detection, and mitigation/remediation) and will consist of scientists from academia, federal/state/local agencies, and other researchers with an interest in this field of study. This workshop consisted of oral and poster presentations and panel discussions, as well as provide a forum to determine the current state-of-the-science in arsenic research and knowledge gaps that will inform future arsenic research programs. This meeting was a beneficial tool to support bidirectional communication, enable one-on-one interaction between meeting participants, foster interdisciplinary collaborations, and discuss possible solutions to address identified arsenic research gaps.

Product from Workshop

The product from this workshop is a report/white paper/publication consisting of summaries from each of the speakers discussing knowledge gaps in their particular area of research and their vision for the future of arsenic research. In addition, the report provides the current state of the science in arsenic research and a summary of additional knowledge gaps that arose from the workshop. Importantly, using the recommendations provided by this workshop, the report outlines suggested topic areas on which to focus upon for future arsenic research efforts.

NIEHS Arsenic Workshop Report (1MB)

Webinar Recordings and Transcripts

Part 1: Contributions of Advanced Techniques to Understanding Arsenic in Health and the Environment

(Formerly Workshop Session 3)
Moderator: Mike Waalkes, Ph.D. NIEHS
May 6, 2014, 1:30–3:00 pm ET 

Listen (76MB) 
Transcript (155KB)

  1. What are the most appropriate assessment methods for acute and chronic arsenic exposure in humans? (Miranda Loh, University of Arizona; Badawi Dweik, Giner, Inc.)
  2. What biomarkers are best predict human arsenic-induced diseases? Are there disease-specific biomarkers? (Barry Rosen, Florida International University; Maria Argos, University of Chicago)
  3. What is the impact of the microbiome on arsenic? Does the microbiome alter arsenic metabolism? (Kun Lu, University of Georgia)
  4. What are the other complex exposures have been associated with arsenic? What data is needed to determine the effects of arsenic and other exposures (e.g., metals, PAHs, etc.)? (Luz Maria Del Razo Jiménez, Cinvestav, Mexico)

Part 2: Susceptibility to Arsenic Effects

(Formerly Workshop Session 2)
Moderator: John Cowden, Ph.D. USEPA
May 7, 2014, 1:30–3:00 pm ET

Listen (72MB)
Transcript (259KB)

  1. What types of mechanistic data are needed to identify novel susceptibility pathways for inorganic arsenic exposure? (Andrea Allan, University of New Mexico; Eric Ditzel, University of Arizona)
  2. What types of data on susceptibility are needed to inform the dose-response relationship for human health effects related to inorganic arsenic exposure (e.g., variability in response to a particular dose)? What types of susceptibility information is needed to inform cumulative risk for individual/populations? (Craig Steinmaus, University of California Berkeley)
  3. What methods/data are needed to identify susceptible individuals/populations? Alternatively, what types of data are needed to consider a mechanistic event a "biomarker" of susceptibility? (Karin Engstrom, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
  4. What mechanistic data are needed to inform susceptible lifestage exposures, particularly the late onset of health effects following early life exposure? (Carmen Marsit, Dartmouth College)
  5. What is the impact of the different susceptibility factors on epigenetic regulation? Which factor or factors have the biggest impact on arsenic susceptibility? (Molly Kile, Oregon State University)

Part 3: Global Environmental Cycling and Bioavailability of Arsenic

(Formerly Workshop Session 1)
Moderator: David Thomas, Ph.D. USEPA
May 22, 2014, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm ET

Listen (77MB)
Transcript (230KB)

  1. Are data sufficient to allocate exposures to different sources in U.S. populations or in other populations? (Margaret Kurzius-Spencer, University of Arizona)
  2. How do we assess the bioavailability/bioaccessibility of arsenic from different sources? (Albert Juhasz, University of South Australia; Mary Lou Guerinot, Dartmouth College)
  3. Do we have satisfactory biomarkers to assess arsenic exposure in humans? (Mary Kay O’Rourke, University of Arizona)
  4. Do available models adequately represent aggregate exposure to arsenic? What is limiting - the model or the data? (Scott Fendorf, Stanford University)
  5. Is understanding As speciation in the environment more relevant for exposure/risk assessment or determining fate and transport? (Matthew Polizzotto, North Carolina State University)

Part 4: Prevention and Remediation Strategies for Arsenic Exposure

(Formerly Workshop Session 4)
Moderator: Heather Henry, Ph.D. NIEHS
June 3, 2014, 3:00–4:30 pm ET

Listen (81MB)
Transcript (233KB)

  1. Nutrition is a preventative strategy that can reduce the adverse health effects of arsenic exposure. What are the considerations, limitations, and challenges to using this approach? What are some of the other more recent nutritional interventions that we should be aware of? (Mary Gamble, Columbia University; Megan Hall, Columbia University)
  2. How can communities be made aware of potential exposure to arsenic and opportunities for prevention? Should blanket testing of private wells for As throughout the US be offered or imposed? (Lex van Geen, Columbia University)
  3. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for preventing arsenic exposures? What types of prevention/remediation options are needed considering each exposure route and each media? (Julie Zimmerman, Yale University)
  4. Arsenic is an interesting toxicant because much of the exposure occurs from natural sources. What exposures occur due to anthropogenic processing (e.g., mining)? How can these exposures be evaluated? What types of prevention strategies are there to minimize arsenic exposures from anthropogenic sources (e.g., the Garden Roots Project)? (Raina Maier, University of Arizona)


Danielle Carlin, Ph.D.
Danielle J. Carlin, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator

Tel 984-287-3244
Superfund Research Program
Center for Risk & Integrated Sciences
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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