Everyday “chemical soup” found to cause cancer 21



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We all know we live in a world filed with chemicals and that some are safer than others. But in a world first, an international team of researchers has honed in on 85 of the most common chemicals we encounter every day, to determine any potential links to cancer.

And while many studies have been done on each chemical, this is the first study to examine how our bodies react to combinations of these chemicals.

“Since so many chemicals that are unavoidable in the environment can produce low-dose effects that are directly related to carcinogenesis, the way we’ve been testing chemicals (one at a time) is really quite out of date,” says William Goodson III, a senior scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

“Every day we are exposed to an environmental ‘chemical soup’, so we need testing that evaluates the effects of our ongoing exposure to these chemical mixtures,” he added.

The high-profile taskforce was formed in 2013 by the non-government organisation Getting to Know Cancer, which was concerned that cancer research was focused primarily on the role of genes and lifestyle factors as triggers, despite evidence that as many as one in five cancers may be caused by exposure to chemicals in the environment over which we have little say.

The team of 174 scientists in 28 countries, including one researcher from the University of Otago, New Zealand, investigated 85 typical chemicals aren’t considered to be carcinogenic to humans. They worked in teams, each one focusing on a specific characteristic of cancer.

All together, the teams found that 50 of the chemicals supported cancer-related mechanisms at the kinds of levels humans were routinely exposed. This supports the idea that chemicals may be capable of acting in concert with one another to cause cancer, even though low-level exposures to these chemicals individually might not be carcinogenic.

While the list of chemicals has not been released, the report calls for further examination into low-dose exposures to a combination of environmental chemicals and suggests regulations in many countries be revisited.

The chemicals on the list are currently deemed “safe” by regulators. How do you feel about that? Do you think more research is necessary? 

For five non-toxic cleaning recipes, see our article here.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. The debate re exposure to certain chemicals has been going on for as long as I can remember. Over the years we have become more aware that some chemicals used in everyday life may be harmful. On the other hand we know that some chemicals once thought to be harmful are in fact benificial. Researchers of the “chemical soup” that was found to cause cancer ( according to the above article) will publish their report and the debate will continue. What we need to realise is that for harm to arise from any of the chemicals that are deemed safe it requires long,constant and direct exposure to the actual active chemical that is part of the product being tested. Having said that; it is common sense and good policy to treat any chemical product with respect.

    2 REPLY
  2. I lost my husband to cancer ,he was a farmer ,in early days they had no idea of the dangers and a lot of the chemicals they used are now banned ,without exception every farmer around us have all died of cancer .

  3. Try sitting in a Cancer infusion centre from 9-5pm and see the first hand the age range of cancer victims. Yesterday it was age 15 to 90yrs. We are not paying attention! And this is just one centre and it operates 5 days a week!

  4. Was only joking Robina. I agree people are not paying attention to what they eat and we definitely need to be made aware of the chemicals that are in the foods we consume. Although, you do have to wonder what food and vegetables the normal “run of the mill” population, who can’t grow their own products, will have left to eat if laws aren’t passed to prevent this contamination?

  5. A good start to minimising the toxic chemicals in your life is to use more natural cleaning products. Avoid that horrible smelling aisle in the supermarket! Bi Carb soda and white vinegar is all you need + essential oils if you want a nice pleasant smell.

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