Sustainability and Social Justice

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In revising cancer risk assessment guidelines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analyzed animal cancer bioassay data over different periods of life. In this article, we report an improved analysis of these data (supplemented with some chemical carcinogenesis observations not included in the U.S. EPA's original analysis) and animal bioassay studies of ionizing radiation. We use likelihood methods to avoid excluding cases where no tumors were observed in specific groups. We express dosage for animals of different weights on a metabolically consistent basis (concentration in air or food, or per unit body weight to the three-quarters power). Finally, we use a system of dummy variables to represent exposures during fetal, preweaning, and weaning-60-day postnatal periods, yielding separate estimates of relative sensitivity per day of dosing in these intervals. Central estimate results indicate a 5- to 60-fold increased carcinogenic sensitivity in the birth-weaning period per dose + (body weight0.75-day) for mutagenic carcinogens and a somewhat smaller increase - centered about 5-fold - for radiation carcinogenesis per gray. Effects were greater in males than in females. We found a similar increased sensitivity in the fetal period for direct-acting nitrosoureas, but no such increased fetal sensitivity was detected for carcinogens requiring metabolic activation. For the birth-weaning period, we found an increased sensitivity for direct administration to the pups similar to that found for indirect exposure via lactation. Radiation experiments indicated that carcinogenic sensitivity is not constant through the "adult" period, but the dosage delivered in 12- to 21-month-old animals appears a few-fold less effective than the comparable dosage delivered in young adults (90-105 days of age).

Publication Title

Environmental Health Perspectives

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carcinogenesis, fetal, Ionizing radiation, mutagenic chemicals, risk assessment, statistical analysis, susceptibility

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Sociology Commons



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