New additions to the federal report on carcinogens – News and Notes

New additions to the federal report on carcinogens – News and Notes – Brief Article

The federal government published the 10th edition of its biennial Report on Carcinogens, adding to it approximately 17 new listings of “known” human carcinogens. This brings the count to a total of 228 elements that are “known” or “reasonably anticipated” carcinogens.

Among these new additions were steroidal estrogens, which are commonly used in estrogen replacement therapy and oral contraceptives. A few of the individual steroidal estrogens were previously listed as “reasonably anticipated carcinogens” in past publications; however, this is the first edition to list them as a single group. The report cites data from studies that show an association between estrogen replacement therapy and an increase in the risk of endometrial cancer and a smaller increase in the risk of breast cancer. There is also evidence that suggests an increased risk of breast cancer associated with oral contraceptives that contain estrogen.

In addition to these two items, other newly listed “known” human carcinogens include: broad spectrum ultraviolet radiation (UVR), which shows a cause and effect relationship with skin cancer, cancer of the lip, and melanoma of the eye; wood dust, which has an association with nasal cavity and sinus cancer; and nickel compounds, which are associated with lung and nasal cancers. Beryllium and beryllium compounds were upgraded from “reasonably anticipated” to “known” cancer-causing status. Twelve other items were added to the “reasonably anticipated” to be a human cancer-causing agent list, including chloramphenicol–an antibiotic with restricted use in the United States due to the fact it may cause fatal blood disorders–and methyleugenol, which occurs naturally in oils, herbs, and spices, and is used in flavors, insect attractants, anaesthetics, and sunscreens. This report does not consider or attempt to balance potential benefits of these products, nor does it assess the magnitude of the cancer risk of the substances. This report is provided by the DHHS and is prepared by the National Toxicology Program, a branch of the DHHS.

The full report is available at http://ntp-server.niehs .nih.gov. Hard copies may be obtained by emailing ehponline@niehs.nih.gov or writing to Environmental Health Perspectives, Attn: Order Processing, 1001 Winstead Dr., Ste. 355, Cary, NC 27513.

COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Government Printing Office

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