Global Cancer Risk From Unregulated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

October 26, 2021
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources



Kelly, J.M., Ivatt, P.D., Evans, M.J., Kroll, J.H., Hrdina, A.I.H., Kohale, I.N., White, F.M., Engelward, B.P., Selin, N.E. (2021). Global Cancer Risk From Unregulated Polycyclic Aromatic HydrocarbonsGeoHealth. DOI: 10.1029/2021GH000401.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a carcinogenic class of compounds. Once emitted to the atmosphere they can degrade to form other PAH compounds that can be more toxic. Dr. Noelle Eckley Selin presented recent global-scale modeling work that assesses the importance of different PAHs to global cancer risk. She and colleagues showed that one PAH commonly used as an indicator for the entire group, benzo(a)pyrene, is only a minor contributor to total cancer risks (11% globally), and certain degradation products play a larger role than benzo(a)pyrene (17% globally). The results demonstrated that relying on a single indicator compound is misleading in assessing risk, and suggest the need for further considering the risks of currently-unregulated degradation products.

This webinar is one in a monthly series sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL, Health and Environment Alliance), Sarah Howard (HEEDS and the Commonweal Diabetes and Environment Program), and Hannah Donart (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters! 

This webinar was moderated by Sharyle Patton, Director of the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center. It lasted for 30 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.

Featured Speaker

Noelle Eckley Selin, PhD, is Professor in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also the Director of MIT’s Technology and Policy Program. Her research uses atmospheric chemistry modeling to inform decision-making on sustainability challenges, including air pollution, climate change and hazardous substances such as mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Her work also examines interactions between science and policy in international environmental negotiations and develops systems approaches to address sustainability challenges. She received her PhD from Harvard University in Earth and Planetary Sciences as part of the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group. Her M.A. (Earth and Planetary Sciences) and B.A. (Environmental Science and Public Policy) are also from Harvard University. Her articles were selected as the best environmental policy papers in 2015 and 2016 by the journal Environmental Science & Technology.  She is the recipient of a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER award (2011), a Leopold Leadership fellow (2013-2014), Kavli fellow (2015), a member of the Global Young Academy (2014-2018), an American Association for the Advancement of Science Leshner Leadership Institute Fellow (2016-2017), and a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the Technical University of Munich Institute for Advanced Study (2018-2021).