HHS Identifies Eight Substances as Carcinogens

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday added eight substances to its Report on Carcinogens, a science-based document identifying chemicals and biological agents that may put people at increased risk for cancer.

The industrial chemical formaldehyde and a botanical known as aristolochic acid are listed as known human carcinogens. Six other substances — captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine and styrene — are added as substances that are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.

“This report underscores the critical connection between our nation’s health and what’s in our environment,” John Bucher, PhD, associate director of the National Toxicology Program, said in a news release.

The Report on Carcinogens is a congressionally mandated document that is prepared for the HHS Secretary by the NTP. The report identifies agents, substances, mixtures or exposures in two categories: known to be a human carcinogen and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

A listing in the report does not by itself mean that a substance will cause cancer. Many factors, including the amount and duration of exposure and an individual’s susceptibility to a substance, affect whether a person will develop cancer.

Once a substance is nominated by the public or private sector and selected for consideration, it undergoes an extensive evaluation with numerous opportunities for scientific and public input. There were at least six opportunities for public input on each substance.

The NTP used established criteria to evaluate the scientific evidence on each candidate substance under review. It drew upon the scientific expertise of several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A detailed description of each substance is included in the new report: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc12.

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