by David Safier
With Arizona mining, and Rosemont in particular, so much in the news, Democratic LD-30 Senate candidate Todd Camenisch's work on the connection between arsenic
and heart problems takes on added significance.
Camenisch is leading a team at the UA College of Pharmacy researching the issue.
A research team led by Todd D. Camenisch, associate professor at the UA College of Pharmacy, is seeking to discover how exposure to arsenic contributes both to congenital heart malformations and adult heart disease. Heart malformations are the most common birth defects in the U.S., and heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of American adults.
"Other studies have shown a link between arsenic exposure and the incidence of heart disease," Camenisch said. "Through understanding better how arsenic affects fetal development and cardiovascular disease, we may be able to make a major improvement in the health of people here in the desert Southwest."
Much of the arsenic in the Arizona desert dust is a result of mining.
"Since the 1990s, we've been especially concerned about the effects of residual arsenic in these [mining] tailings," Gandolfi said. "Our newest research is focused on finding out what happens when arsenic particles from the tailings get into our air, are blown around and we breathe them in. We are the first scientists in the country asking these questions."
This is one of a number of Superfund studies looking into various aspects of the health effects associated with hazardous wastes in Arizona.