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5 viruses, 1 metal and 1 solvent tagged as new cancer causers in US agency report

5 viruses, 1 metal and 1 solvent tagged as new cancer causers in US agency report

'Five of the new substances added are actually viruses that either cause cancer directly or make it easier for other cancer-causing viruses to do their deadly work. They include: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1); Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1); Epstein-Barr virus (EBV); Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV); Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). All five of these viruses are classified as "Known to be a human carcinogen," as opposed to the agency's other category of "Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."


As for Epstein-Barr, the NIH says that 90 percent of all adults are already infected with the herpes-related virus but most of our immune systems hold it in check. It has, however been implicated in four types of lymphoma: "Burkitt, Hodgkin, immune-suppression-related non-Hodgkin, and nasal type extranodal NK/T-cell — and two types of epithelial cancer — nasopharyngeal cancer and some types of stomach cancer," says the agency.

In addition to the five viruses, the industrial solvent Trichloroethylene (TCE) has received a bump in status from "reasonably anticipated human carcinogen" to "known human carcinogen" due to its role in increasing kidney cancer risk.


The final of the seven cancer-causers are "cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo" which join the list with "reasonably anticipated" status.'



Photo: Apple blossom

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I'm glad to see chlorambucil is still on the list... ☹️ NOT!



The reference to cobalt brings up an old thought for me. Cobalt Blue was one of my favorite paint colors to use when creating art. This vibrant color stands out among all the other blues. I used it, knowing of the carcinogenic properties, because it was such a beautiful addition to the color space.

One day, while painting borders on an ornate manuscript, I felt a mild stinging sensation in the area of the nail bed of my middle finger. I looked down and saw that the fingers that held the brush were coated with cobalt blue gouache. I was pretty horrified to discover that I had a small open wound on the cuticle of that nail, and that the paint had easy access to finding a path beyond the skin barrier.

Once I finished that border, I made the decision never to use my favorite color again. I tossed the tube of paint, though I never tossed the niggling question of how much damage had been done and whether there would be consequences in the future.

I will never know if my two bouts of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, first CTCL 15 years ago, and then my diagnosis of CLL in 2012, are related to that episode, but I sure wonder.


I hope they remain correct about the cobalt in B12 supplements being safe. Thanks for the article.


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