A new study finds that chemicals common to many environments can, when combined, lead to cancer.
The study, which was compiled by researchers from nearly 30 different countries, examines the connection between chemicals and cancer. The scientists took a close look at more than 80 different chemicals never considered carcinogenic on their own but suspected to have cancer-causing properties when placed together in or near the human body.
In the end, the researchers found that 50 of those chemicals did, in fact, support critical cancer-related mechanisms. In other words, many of the chemicals commonly found in our homes can cause cancer when combined.
According to Paola Marignani, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, these chemicals include “some of the fuels, some of the plastics, and some of the cosmetics we use” on a regular basis. “They’re in our food, our products, our preservatives, our pesticides.”
This is hardly the first study to examine how chemicals cause cancer. Most researchers believe you can link roughly one in five cancer diagnoses to chemical exposure.
William Goodson III, the study’s lead author and a senior researcher at the California Pacific Medical Center, believes it demonstrates a need for more studies in this area. “Since so many chemicals that are unavoidable in the environment can produce low dose effects that are directly related to carcinogenesis, the way we’ve been testing chemicals (one at a time) is really quite out of date,” he said.
“Every day we are exposed to an environmental ‘chemical soup,’ so we need testing that evaluates the effects of our ongoing exposure to these chemical mixtures,” Goodson added.