Workplace exposures Cancer

HHS adds to list of carcinogens

Washington – The Department of Health and Human Services has added four substances to its list of cancer hazards, according to the agency’s 13th Report on Carcinogens.

One of those substances – ortho-toluidine, which is used to make rubber chemicals, pesticides and dyes – has been listed as a known human carcinogen. Three others have been added as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens,” including:

  • 1-bromopropane (used as a cleaning solvent and spray adhesive)
  • Cumene (used to make phenol and acetone; also found in fuel products and tobacco smoke)
  • Pentachlorophenol (a wood preservative mixture)

Ortho-toluidine has been included in the report since 1983 as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. A European study published earlier this year found that hairdressers’ ortho-toluidine levels may be linked to how often they work with permanent dyes and perming treatments.

“Identifying substances in our environment that can make people vulnerable to cancer will help in prevention efforts,” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said in a press release.