- Carolyn Cunningham For the AJC
Most people know that carcinogens can cause cancer, but what is less ubiquitous are the various carcinogens that could be in household items, your food and in everyday items.
About 40 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most cancers are caused by genetic changes, because of aging and exposure to such environmental factors like tobacco smoke and radiation. Other controllable factors include what kind of food you eat, how much you eat and whether you exercise.
What should be of relief to many is that some things thought to cause cancer don't, according to the National Cancer Institute. Those exemptions include antiperspirants, artificial sweeteners, bras, cell phones, charred meats, deodorants, flouride water, hair dye and power lines.
There are 250 unusual known carcinogens, according to lists of the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Here are 7 of the most surprising from the toxicology program’s list:
1. Air fresheners/scented candles
Reason for cancer: A substance used to give products that citrus smell, limonene itself is dangerous when it's released into the air and reacts with ozone because it creates formaldehyde. The National Cancer Institute has said formaldehyde is associated with several types of cancer.
2. Antioxidant dietary supplements
4. Estrogen hormones
5. Food packaging (like cans, plastics, Teflon)
Reason for cancer: It is legal for companies to use ingredients linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and reproductive harm in the cosmetics and personal care products.
7. Being a transplant recipient