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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
Carcinogens Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy A carcinogen is any substance or agent that causes cancer or increases the probability of cancer. Related terms include the adjective "carcinogenic" and the nouns "carcinogenesis" and "carcinogenicity." One of the best-known carcinogens is ionizing radiation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified some 60 substances and processes as probably or definitely carcinogenic in humans. These substances and processes are divided into three categories -- Agents and groups of agents, Mixtures, and Exposure circumstances - and they are as follows:

Agents and groups of agents

  • Aflatoxins, naturally occurring
  • 4-Aminobiphenyl
  • Arsenic and arsenic compounds
  • Asbestos
  • Azathioprine
  • Benzene
  • Benzidine
  • Beryllium and beryllium compounds
  • N,N-Bis(2-chloroethyl)-2-naphthylamine (chlornaphazine)
  • Bis-chloromethyl) ether and chloromethyl methyl ether
  • 1,4-Butanediol dimethanesulfonate (busulfan; Myleran)
  • Cadmium and cadmium compounds
  • Chlorambucil
  • 1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-(4-methylcyclohexyl)-1-nitrosourea (methyl-CCNU; Semustine)
  • Chromium [VI] compounds
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • Erionite
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Melphalan
  • Methoxypsoralen (methoxsalen) plus ultraviolet radiation
  • MOPP and other combined chemotherapy including alkylating agents
  • Mustard gas (sulfur mustard)
  • 2-Naphthylamine
  • Nickel compounds
  • Estrogen therapy, postmenopausal, especially using synthetic estrogens
  • Radon and its decay products
  • Silica, crystalline
  • Solar radiation
  • Talc-containing asbestiform fibers
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin
  • Thiotepa
  • Treosulfan
  • Vinyl chloride


  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Analgesic mixtures containing phenacetin
  • Betel quid with tobacco
  • Coal-tar pitches
  • Coal tars
  • Mineral oils, untreated and mildly treated
  • Salted fish (Chinese style)
  • Shale oils
  • Soots
  • Tobacco products, smokeless
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Wood dust

    Exposure circumstances

  • Aluminum production
  • Auramine manufacturing
  • Boot and shoe manufacture and repair
  • Coal gasification
  • Coke production
  • Furniture and cabinet making
  • Hematite mining (underground) with exposure to radon
  • Iron and steel founding
  • Isopropanol manufacturing (strong-acid process)
  • Magenta manufacturing
  • Painting (occupational exposure)
  • Rubber industry
  • Strong-inorganic-acid mists containing sulfuric acid (occupational exposure)

  • The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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