Carcinogens and Cancer

It is important to be aware of environmental causes of cancer that may be lurking in your home, workplace, or in the air outside.  Below is a list of environmental causes to be cautious of and try to avoid if at all possible.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been used as an insulator in workplaces since it is fire-resistant and does not conduct electricity. It was widely used in factories, power and chemical plants and navy ships to protect equipment from damages due to fires and chemicals of the facilities nature.  The fibers cling to clothing and stick in hair so workers exposed to asbestos were likely to bring the toxic material home with them to their families. Long term exposure to asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with a latency period of 20 to 50 years so unfortunately, once the disease has been diagnosed the cancer is already so advanced that there is little to no convention treatment that will work to combat this disease. For more information on asbestos, click here.

Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless reactive gas found in rocks and soil throughout the world. It forms from the decay of radioactive elements and then moves into the air, ground and surface water. Outdoors, radon usually disperses before reaching high levels of toxicity. Most radon issues affect people who have high levels of radon in their homes. Test kits are available to check radon levels inside for those that are worried about heavy exposure to the gas.  Radon can cause lung cancer if a person has been exposed to the substance for a long period of time. When inhaled, these particles lodge in the lining of the lungs where eventually they can damage the cells.

Talcum Powder

This powder is made from talc, a mineral composed mainly of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. It is an absorbent power that helps cut down on friction making it a useful agent to keep skin dry and help prevent rashes. It is also widely used in cosmetics such as baby powder and facial powders. Naturally, talc may contain asbestos and because of this, it has been linked to causing cancer. Talc products have been asbestos free since the 1970s, however since the latency period of asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma is 20 to 50 years, consumers who used talc products often may just now be seeing symptoms. For more information on mesothelioma click here.

Other Carcinogens

Other substances such as lead, hair dyes, aspartame, and Teflon have been tested and currently, there is not enough evidence to prove there being a link between these materials and cancer. Reference: American Cancer Society