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 23 January 2018

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News

List of cancer-causing agents grows

The NIH reports that 17 substances have been added to the growing list of cancer-causing agents and the new listings include lead and lead compounds, X-rays, compounds found in grilled meats, and a host of substances used in textile dyes, paints and inks.

News image

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The Department of Health and Human Services released its Eleventh Edition of the Report on Carcinogens today.

The department added 17 substances to the growing list of cancer-causing agents, bringing the total to 246.

For the first time ever, viruses are listed in the report: hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and some human papillomaviruses that cause common sexually transmitted diseases.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are viruses that cause acute or chronic liver disease.

They are listed in the report as “known human carcinogens” because studies in humans show that chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections cause liver cancer.

Naphthalene is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of many industrial chemicals, and has been used as an ingredient in some moth repellants and toilet bowl deodorants.

Naphthalene is listed in the report as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” based on inhalation studies in animals which showed it causes rare nasal tumors in rats and benign lung tumors in female mice.

MeIQ, MeIQx, and PhIP are heterocyclic amine compounds formed when meats and eggs are cooked or grilled at high temperatures.

There is an increased risk for breast and colorectal cancers related to consumption of broiled or fried foods
NIH

These compounds are also found in cigarette smoke.

They are listed in the report as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens” because oral studies in animals showed they caused cancer in multiple organs including the forestomach, colon, liver, oral cavity, mammary gland, skin, and cecum.

Several human studies suggest there is an increased risk for breast and colorectal cancers related to consumption of broiled or fried foods that may contain these or other similar compounds.

Lead is used to make lead-acid storage batteries, ammunition, and cable coverings.

Lead compounds are used in paint, glass and ceramics, fuel additives, and in some ethnic and ceremonial cosmetics.

The report lists lead and lead compounds as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens".

Exposure to lead or lead compounds is associated with a small increased risk for lung or stomach cancer in humans, and cancer of the kidney, brain or lung in studies with laboratory animals.

Dr Kenneth Olden, director of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program commented, “Among U.S. residents, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes."

"Research shows that environmental factors trigger diseases like cancer, especially when someone has a family history."

NIH; 2005: online press release
04 February 2005

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