Today the Department of Health and Human Services released the Report on Carcinogens 9th edition. Prepared by the National Toxicology Program, which is headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Report identifies substances -- such as metals, pesticides, drugs, and natural and synthetic chemicals -- and mixtures or exposure circumstances that are "known" or are "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancer, and to which a significant number of Americans are exposed. The Report is published every two years.
The Report is a scientific and public health document first ordered by Congress in 1978 to educate both the public and health professionals in the recognition that many cancers are apparently induced by chemicals in the home, workplace, general environment and from the use of certain drugs. It is important to understand that the Report identifies potential cancer hazards. A listing in the Report does not by itself establish that a substance presents a cancer risk to an individual in daily life. It is also important to note that the Report does not address or attempt to balance potential benefits of exposures to certain carcinogenic substances in special situations. For example, numerous drugs used to treat cancer have been shown to increase the occurrence of secondary cancers. In these instances, the benefits of exposure to the drugs for treatment or prevention of a specific disease have been determined by the FDA to outweigh the additional cancer risks associated with their use. People should not make decisions concerning the use of a given drug, or any other listed agent, based solely on the information contained in the Report. Decisions of this type should be made only after consulting with a physician or other appropriate specialist about both risks and benefits.
An agent, substance, mixture or exposure circumstance can be listed in the Report either as "known to be a human carcinogen" or as "reasonab
Contact: Sandra Lange
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences