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Inferred risk



about this glossary tool

'Inferred risk of cancer' describes situations in which there is exposure to an agent that may be carcinogenic – the evidence comes primarily from laboratory studies involving animals so cancer risk to humans may not have been proven.


 

Occupational exposure to chemicals for which some evidence of carcinogenicity is available
Situation
Occupational exposure to chemicals for which some evidence of carcinogenicity is available
Exposure
Various specific workers
Carcinogen
Occupational exposure in dry cleaning;
Work involving
Acrylontrile
Chloroform
DDT
Principal route of exposure
Inhalation and possibly dermal
Target organ (or tumour type)
Lung & other sites including leukaemia
Comment
Following exposure to many agents, attributing risk to single agents, most of which are categorized as possibly carcinogenic to humans, is difficult.

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Agricultural work involving herbicides
Situation
Agricultural work involving herbicides
Exposure
Farmers, forestry workers
Carcinogen
Chlorophenoxy and possibly other compounds
Principal route of exposure
Inhalation and dermal
Target organ (or tumour type)
Lymphoma
Comment
Lymphoma risk associated with agricultural work rather than specific chemicals.

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Residential exposure to insecticides
Situation
Residential exposure to insecticides
Exposure
Occupants of sprayed houses
Carcinogen
Many including
Chlordane
Principal route of exposure
Inhalation & dermal
Target organ (or tumour type)
Breast and various sites investigated
Comment
Increasingly better indicators of exposure are being used.

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Environment exposure to DDT
Situation
Environment exposure to DDT
Exposure
Young women
Carcinogen
DDT
 
Principal route of exposure
Not clear
Target organ (or tumour type)
Breast
Comment
Exposure determined by levels of DDT in serum.

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Heterocyclic amines in cooked meat and fish
Situation
Heterocyclic amines in cooked meat and fish
Exposure
Whole population
Carcinogen
Multiple compounds including PhIP
Principal route of exposure
Ingestion
Target organ (or tumour type)
Colo-rectum, prostate and possibly other sites
Comment
Impact of specific chemicals as mediating dietary-associated risk is difficult to resolve.

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Chloroform in toothpaste
Situation
Chloroform in toothpaste
Exposure
Consumers of the product
Carcinogen
Chloroform
 
Principal route of exposure
Ingestion
Target organ (or tumour type)
Not clear
Comment
Usage discontinued in many countries.

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Polybrominated biphenyls as flame retardant
Situation
Polybrominated biphenyls as flame retardant
Exposure
Children primarily and otherwise, whole population
Carcinogen
Polybrominated biphenyls
Principal route of exposure
Oral and dermal exposure of infants
Target organ (or tumour type)
Not clear
Comment
Relatively new compound
Blood levels rising in general US population

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Contaminated honey
Situation
Contaminated honey
Exposure
Consumers of the product
Carcinogen
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
Principal route of exposure
Ingestion
Target organ (or tumour type)  
Comment
Dietary intake of extremely low concentrations

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Pollutants and pesticide residues in breast milk
Situation
Pollutants and pesticide residues in breast milk
Exposure Infants
Carcinogen
Various pesticides, polychlorinated bipenyls
TCDD
 
Principal route of exposure
Oral exposure of infants
Target organ (or tumour type)
Not clear
Comment
Infants considered to be a most vulnerable population. Compounds may be detectable long after usage ceases.

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Personal use of hair colouring agents
Situation
Personal use of hair colouring agents
Exposure
Users of hair dyes (predominantly women)
Carcinogen
Not clear; dye formulations subject to change over time.
Principal route of exposure
Dermal
Target organ (or tumour type)
Hematopoietic neoplasms
Urinary bladder
Comment
Evidence of dye absorption.

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Environmental exposure causing childhood leukemia
Situation
Environmental exposure causing childhood leukemia
Exposure Children
Carcinogen
Multiple pollutants implicated
Principal route of exposure
Main route not clear, but presumably including inhalation, oral and dermal
Target organ (or tumour type) Leukaemia
Comment
Relevant environmental exposures also include infection-related risk factors

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Residence near power lines
Situation
Residence near power lines
Exposure
Children
Carcinogen
Extremely low frequency electric & magnetic fields
Principal route of exposure
Irradiation
Target organ (or tumour type)
Leukaemia
Comment
Causality not established but reported associations cannot be discounted.

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Perineal use of talc-based body powder
Situation
Perineal use of talc-based body powder
Exposure
Women using body powder
Carcinogen
Talc used in this manner
Principal route of exposure
Retrograde absorption via reproductive tract
Target organ (or tumour type)
Ovary
Comment
Not supported by relevant experimental findings

This information is based on peer review research published in the journal: B.W. Stewart, Banding carcinogenic risks in developed countries: A procedural basis for qualitative assessment, Mutat. Res.: Rev. Mutat. Res. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.mrrev.2007.11.007.

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This page was last updated on: Wednesday, November 18, 2015