Free Press Journal

Seven new substances added, no of carcinogens rises to 248


Washington: Seven newly reviewed substances, including five viruses, chemical and a metallic element, have been linked to cancer risk in humans, bringing the total list of carcinogens to 248, according to a new report, says PTI.

The five viruses include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1, human Tcell lymphotropic virus type 1, Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Merkel cell polyomavirus. The chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), the metallic element cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo, were also added to the list in the US Department of Health and Human Services 14th Report on Carcinogens.

“Given that about 12 per cent of human cancers worldwide may be attributed to viruses, and there are no vaccines currently available for these five viruses, prevention strategies to reduce the infections that can lead to cancer are even more critical,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Programme (NTP).

“The listings in this report, particularly the viruses, bring attention to the important role that prevention can play in reducing the world’s cancer burden. There are also things people can do to reduce their exposure to cobalt and TCE,” said Birnbaum. All five viruses are being added to the category of known to be a human carcinogen. Collectively, these viruses have been linked to more than 20 different types of cancers.