Arsenic in Dermatology

Mary E. Maloney, University of Massachusetts Medical School

At the time of publication, Mary E. Maloney was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Arsenic is a chemical carcinogen that exists naturally and in the workplace.

OBJECTIVES: Review exposure, clinical signs of arsenic exposure, and the carcinogenic potential.

METHOD: Review of literature.

RESULTS: Arsenic is a known carcinogen that occurs both naturally and in the workplace. It causes cutaneous malignancies, hyperpigmentation, palmer and plantar keratosis, and internal malignancies, especially of the lung and bladder.

CONCLUSION: Exposure risks need to be well publicized. Those people with known exposure need regular full skin exams as well as close follow-up by their primary care physician.