We showed that 2.1% of 233 pieces of lumber debris after the Great East Japan Earthquake was chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood. Since hexavalent chromium (Cr), copper (Cu) and pentavalent arsenic (As) in the debris may be diffused in the air via incineration, we exposed human lung normal (BEAS-2B) and carcinoma (A549) cells to Cr, Cu and As at the molar ratio in a representative CCA-treated wood. Co-exposure to 0.10 μM Cr and 0.06 μM As, which solely had no effect on colony formation, synergistically promoted colony formation in BEAS-2B cells, but not A549 cells, with activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. Sole exposure and co-exposure to Cu showed limited effects. Since previous reports showed Cr and As concentrations to which human lungs might be exposed, our results suggest the importance to avoid diffusion of Cr and As in the air via incineration of debris including CCA-treated wood after the disaster.
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