JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, NON-P.H.S.
REVIEW
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Arsenic-induced skin toxicity.

Human Toxicology 1989 March
We reviewed available literature on the effects of inorganic arsenic on the skin to determine the potential hazards and to collate information regarding dosage and exposure to the incidence of skin cancer. Arsenic intake may result from occupational or medicinal exposure, or from drinking well water in areas with high arsenic levels in the soil. Arsenic causes a variety of benign skin lesions including hyperpigmentation and hyperkeratosis. Some hyperkeratotic lesions and squamous cell carcinomas in situ may progress to invasive carcinoma; other invasive squamous cell carcinomas will develop de novo. These cutaneous squamous cancers may metastasize; mortality is low, but has been reported. Locally invasive but non-metastasizing basal cell carcinomas may arise as well. These lesions occur in a characteristic pattern of distribution and are usually multiple. Observers reporting medicinally administered arsenic have described dose-response relationships between the amount of arsenic ingested and the frequency of various skin lesions. For arsenic found in drinking water, however, there is more controversy regarding the doses and exposure times necessary for cutaneous toxicity.

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