7 Substances Added to Cancer-Causing List

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—the 14th Report on Carcinogens—adds seven newly-reviewed substances. Six of these substances are listed as a, "known human carcinogen," (cancer-causing agent) and one is listed as, "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." Five agents are viruses, one is an industrial solvent, and one is a metal and its compounds.

With this new report, the list of known or suspected carcinogens contains 248 agents. The five viruses added as known carcinogens 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, and Merkel cell polyomavirus. According to the NIH, approximately 12 percent of cancers in humans worldwide may be related to viruses.

Trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial solvent that has been listed as a "reasonably anticipated human carcinogen" since 2000, is now a known carcinogen. It can be released into the air, water, and soil in areas where it is being used and has been linked to an increase risk for kidney cancer. Cobalt and some cobalt compounds are now considered reasonably anticipated carcinogens. Cobalt is used in industrial equipment, rechargeable batteries, and surgical implants. Its carcinogenic properties have been largely seen in animal studies.

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Sourced from: National Institutes of Health