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Twelve Cancer Causing Substances

12 Apr

CAREX Canada is a multidisciplinary team of researchers based at the University of British Columbia that is developing estimates of the number of Canadians exposed to known probable and possible carcinogens in workplace and community environments.

Crystalline silica

Associated cancers:

Lung cancer

What is it?

Crystalline silica is a component of soil, sand, and rocks (like granite and quartzite). Only quartz and cristobalite silica that can be inhaled, as particles are designated known carcinogens.

Where is it found?

•In the air during mining, cutting, and drilling.

• Household cleaners, paints, glass, brick, ceramics, silicon metals in electronics, plastics, paints, and abrasives in soaps.

Benzene

Associated cancers:

Lymphatic and blood-borne cancers (like leukemia)

What is it?

Benzene is a flammable, organic chemical compound that is a colorless liquid with a sweet aroma.

Where is it found?

• Naturally produced by volcanoes and forest fires.

• In manufacturing, used to produce some types of rubber, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, skin contact Occupations most at risk:

Wood dust

Associated cancers:

Cancers of the nasal cavities, Para nasal sinuses, and naso pharynx.

What is it?

Particles of wood created by cutting and sanding.

Where is it found?

• Anywhere wood is chipped, turned, drilled, or sanded. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation Occupations most at risk: Those in the construction industry, and to some extent, those in the logging industry.

Artificial UV radiation

Associated cancers:

Skin cancer

What is it?

Artificial UV radiation comes from man-made machines like sunbeds, medical and dental technology, and various lamps.

Where is it found?

• UV-emitting tanning devices.

• Devices that employ UV radiation in electric welding, medical and dental practices, curing lamps to dry paints and resins, and lamps used to sterilize hospital materials. Mode(s) of exposure: Skin exposure.

Asbestos

Associated cancers:

Lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers

What is it?

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that form heat-resistant fibers.

Where is it found?

• Naturally in rock formations.

• In some auto parts like brakes, gaskets, and friction products.

• In some industrial textiles.

• In some safety clothing. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, ingestion, a bit through skin contact Occupations most at risk: Asbestos miners, brake repair mechanics, building demolition or maintenance workers, carpenters, cabinetmakers, construction workers, electricians, plumbers, plaster and drywall installers, auto mechanics.

Chromium (hexavalent)

Associated cancers:

Lung cancer

What is it?

Chromium is a naturally occurring mineral that becomes carcinogenic when it is transformed into its hexavalent form through industrial processes.

Where is it found? •

In the manufacturing of stainless steel and other alloys.

•In the industrial wood preservative, CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate). • Used in small amounts in printer ink toners, textile dyes, and during water treatment. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, skin contact.

Nickel and its compounds

Associated cancers:

Lung, nasal, and paranasal sinus cancers

What is it?

Metallic nickel, a possible carcinogen, is a silver-like, hard metal or grey powder. Nickel compounds, known carcinogens, tend to be green to black, but yellow when heated.

Where is it found?

Used to make stainless steel, and also found in magnets, electrical contacts, batteries, spark plugs, and surgical/dental prostheses. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, ingestion, skin/eye contact

Formaldehyde

Associated cancers:

Nasopharyngeal cancer, leukemia

What is it?

A colorless, combustible gas with a pungent odour.

Where is it found? •

Used in the manufacture of textiles, resins, wood products, and plastics

• As a preservative, formaldehyde is found in embalming fluid.

• As a preservative and disinfectant, it’s used in soaps, shampoos, deodorants, mouthwash, and cosmetics. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, ingestion, skin contact.

Ionizing radiation and radioactive elements

Associated cancers:

Thyroid, breast, and blood-borne cancers

What is it?

Includes particles and rays emitted by radioactive materials, nuclear reactions, and radiation-producing machines.

Where is it found?

• X-rays, radiotherapy.

• Nuclear power plants.

• Naturally in uranium mines.

Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, ingestion, via skin

Cadmium

Associated cancers:

Lung cancer

What is it?

Cadmium is a silvery-white or blue metal typically found in mineral deposits.

Where is it found?

• Zinc deposits.

• As a byproduct of mining for lead, zinc, and copper.

• Battery production.

• As pigments in plastics and coatings for electronics, steel and aluminum to prevent corrosion.

Mode(s) of exposure: I

Inhalation, ingestion

Chlorambucil / Melphalan / Cyclophosphamide

Associated cancers:

Leukemia (Yes, this is correct – these chemicals that are used in conventional medical care to “treat” malignancies can actually contribute to the formation of leukemia.)

What is it?

These chemicals are tumor growth inhibitors used as chemotherapy drugs.

Where is it found?

• In hospitals and pharmacies where malignancies are treated with conventional pharmaceutical agents. Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, ingestion, skin contact

Arsenic

Associated cancers:

Lung and skin cancer

What is it?

A natural element that is a tasteless and odorless.

Where is it found?

• Trace amounts are found in all living matter.

• Used in manufacturing batteries, ammunition, hardening copper, and glassmaking.

• Used to make CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate), a wood preservative that contains hexavalent chromium (also a carcinogen). Mode(s) of exposure: Inhalation, ingestion, skin contact

 Please consider sharing this information with family and friends.

Sources: CAREX Canada and CBC Canada News

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