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Common chemicals may increase cancer risk

Common chemicals [u]may[/u] increase cancer [u]risk[/u]

Common environmental chemicals assumed to be safe at low doses may act separately or together to induce cancer development, according to research published in Carcinogenesis. (my emphasis)

Hematology Times article (free membership)


The chemicals included the pain reliever acetaminophen*; bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in plastic food and beverage containers; rotenone, a broad-spectrum insecticide; paraquat, an agricultural herbicide; and triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in soaps and cosmetics.

The investigators learned that 50 of the 85 chemicals they analyzed can disrupt cell function in ways that correlate with known early patterns of cancer, even at the low, presumably benign levels at which most people are exposed.

Note that the upshot of this study is that we need to improve our testing methods for new chemicals and not just test them for safety on their own. This will require a huge change in the approvals process if it eventuates.

* Brand names for the pain reliever acetaminophen are Tylenol, Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol Extra Strength

Paraquat is banned in over 32 countries including China! and the European Union but not in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand; countries which have fairly demanding regulatory systems.

Triclosan is commonly used in liquid soaps and even in a well known toothpaste due to its antibacterial properties

Please note: this is NOT meant to frighten you. As the title says, 'Common chemicals may increase cancer risk', not do cause cancer. Given we know that we are at increased risk of some secondary cancers, it may be worth considering being a bit more careful when shopping and use products with less additives. Some examples:

- Use alternative methods of bug and weed control other than poisoning,

- Use plain soap for hand washing

- When using cleaning products, wear gloves/protective clothing and make sure the area is well ventilated and so on.

Source article:

Assessing the carcinogenic potential of low-dose exposures to chemical mixtures in the environment: the challenge ahead


Photo: Noisy Miner

4 Replies

2,4D (herbicide) should be on that short list. It's considered a major player when it comes to chronic lymphocytic leukemia. One study pointed to it indicating that hereditary had little to nothing to do with it.


The Institute of Medicine in the USA certainly considers Agent Orange, which contains 2, 4 D, to have sufficient evidence of an association with CLL which is why US vets exposed to Agent Orange are covered for monitoring and treatment:

It certainly has the strongest association of a man made chemical with CLL, but I've not heard of it being considered a major player outside of its use in combat.

Can you provide the reference to the study downplaying the role of heredity?



I'm going to have to hop on my laptop, I had a better link talking about the connection between 2,4D and CLL.

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