Tungsten alloy and cancer in rats: link to childhood leukemia?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a thorough investigation into the Fallon cancer duster; in fact, it was the largest cancer cluster investigation ever undertaken in the United States. The scientists from the CDC and state health departments concluded that exposure to tungsten was not associated with the incidence of childhood leukemia in Fallon (CDC 2003). The genesis of the leukemia cases is still an area of interest and speculation as shown by a recent letter in EHP (Daughton 2005). Because Kalinich et al. (2005) inferred that tungsten somehow played a role in the Fallon leukemias while presenting data suggesting that implanted tungsten alloy caused metastatic tumor formation, readers may confuse the issues and assume that somehow the two effects (rhabdomyosarcoma and childhood leukemia) are related.
We are not questioning the quality of the work presented by Kalinich et al. (2005) or their finding that implanted pellets of a specific combination of tungsten/ nickel/cobalt alloy caused an apparent increase in rhabdomyosarcoma with subsequent metastasis to the lung. Rather, we recommend that the authors remain focused on this finding. Suggesting that these results can be linked to, or somehow shed light on, childhood leukemia and exposure to environmental tungsten is both inappropriate and misleading.
The author provides consulting services for Kennametal, Inc., a company with a facility in Fallon, Nevada.
CDC. 2003. Cross-Sectional Exposure Assessment of Environmental Contaminants in Churchill County, Nevada. Final Report. Atlanta, GA:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/clusters/ Fallon/study.htm [accessed 2 November 2005].
Daughton CG. 2005. Overlooked in Fallon? [Letter]. Environ Health Perspect 113:A224-A225.
Kalinich JF, Edmond CA, Dalton TK, Mog SR, Coleman GD, Kordell JE, et al. 2005. Embedded weapons-grade tungsten alloy shrapnel rapidly induces metastatic high-grade rhabdomyosarcomas in F344 rats. Environ Health Perspect 113:729-734.
John D. Schell
Blasland, Bouck & Lee, Inc.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Perspectives / Correspondence|
|Author:||Schell, John D.|
|Publication:||Environmental Health Perspectives|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2005|
|Previous Article:||Pesticides and neurologic symptoms: Kamel et al. respond.|
|Next Article:||Tungsten alloy and cancer in rats: Kalinich responds.|