Viruses, Grilled Meat Added to List of Carcinogens

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina, February 2, 2005 (ENS) - For the first time, the federal government has added viruses to the official list of agents that are known to cause cancer. Hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and some human papillomaviruses that cause common sexually transmitted diseases are listed in the new biannual Report on Carcinogens issued Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

In all, 17 new substances were added to the growing list of cancer-causing agents, bringing the total to 246. Other new listings include lead and lead compounds, X-rays, compounds found in grilled meats, and a number of substances used in textile dyes, paints and inks.

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Dr. Kenneth Olden, a research geneticist, has led the National Toxicology Program and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences since 1991. (Photo courtesy NIH)
"Among U.S. residents, one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes. Research shows that environmental factors trigger diseases like cancer, especially when someone has a family history," said Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, which prepared the report.

The Report on Carcinogens now contains 58 "known" cancer agents and 188 substances that are "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancers.

Six substances have been added to the "known" category:

Eleven substances have been added to the "reasonably anticipated" category:

The Report on Carcinogens, Eleventh Edition, is prepared by the National Toxicology Program, an interagency group coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The full report is available at: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov.

The National Toxicology Program is located at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Research Triangle Park. Part of the National Institutes of Health, NIEHS looks at factors in the environment that may be harmful to human health.