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Impact sur la santé des hydrocarbures aromatiques polycycliques halogénés : état des connaissances

Denis Bard 1 
Abstract : Aim of the study The purpose of this article is to take stock of knowledges on halogenated aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons’impact on health. Method Description of halogenated aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons then analysis of main effects. Results The “Seveso dioxin” or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is the most notorious compound (and the most toxic) of a family of parent compounds collectively known as halogenated aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons (HAPH). It is also from the 1970s the most studied of structurally close congeners, sharing a common mechanism of action, that include polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDF) and dioxin-like polychlorobiphenyls (DL-PCB) as well as other chlorodibenzo-p-dioxins. These features justify their grouping in a single toxicity (but not exposure) estimate, the Toxic Equivalent Quantity (TEQ) to characterize the potential toxicity of any milieu where they are found simultaneously. The relevance of using such an index for risk assessment purposes is a matter of controversy. These compounds experimentally elicit a wide variety of non cancer effects, some of them clearly mediated by the cellular receptor, some not. The most documented and specific effects occur at high doses. Most of the effects shown experimentally are difficult to interpret epidemiologically. The TCDD carcinogenic potential in the laboratory animal was demonstrated in 1978 but it was characterized as a human carcinogen only in 1997. It is a promoter and not an initiator of carcinogenesis. According to the prevailing model of carcinogenesis, TCDD should be considered as having a dose threshold and cancer can occur only after an initiating agent was applied. However, TCDD elicits cancers in laboratory rodents without previous dosing of an initiator, allowing the possibility of using a non-threshold approach of TCDD-associated cancer risk. In addition, everyone is exposed daily to very low doses of HAPH, 95 % of which from food. Conclusion Choosing a threshold or alternatively a non-threshold approach for dioxin-associated cancer risk has tremendous consequences as regard public health impact: considering the current levels of population exposure, adopting a threshold approach, as WHO does, justifies the conclusion that no cancer case is attributable to dioxin exposure in the general population. Conversely, the non-threshold approach may yield an estimate of several thousands of cancer deaths annually due to dioxin exposure in France. Several cohort studies provide data allowing modelling the d
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Denis Bard. Impact sur la santé des hydrocarbures aromatiques polycycliques halogénés : état des connaissances. Archives des Maladies Professionnelles et de L'Environnement, 2006, 67 (3), pp.550-557. ⟨10.1016/S1775-8785(06)70419-2⟩. ⟨hal-03866074⟩



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