Green News & Events

Study Shows “Safe” Chemicals in Combination Can Be Carcinogenic

174 scientists in 28 countries investigated 85 “non-carcinogenic” chemicals and found that, in combination, 50 of them could become carcinogenic. What does this mean? When it comes to assessing whether or not a chemical is carcinogenic, our methodology is dangerously out of date, the report shows. And “safe” chemicals like triclosan, bisphenol A (BPA) and atrazine really are dangerous. 

Currently, chemicals are tested one at a time before they’re deemed “safe.” But this study could be a policy changer. A Guardian article sums it up: “The finding supports the idea that chemicals may be capable of acting in concert with one another to cause cancer, even though low-level exposures to these chemicals individually might not be carcinogenic.” 

“Everybody had been working under the assumption that when we tested these chemicals individually and they didn’t cause cancer below a certain dose, then we’re fine to spray that particular pesticide on your breakfast cereal before it goes into the box,” report leader Leroy Lowe was quoted as saying to the Los Angeles Times.

“Every day we are exposed to an environmental ‘chemical soup,'” lead researcher William Goodson III of San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center told the Guardian. “We need testing that evaluates the effects of our ongoing exposure to these chemical mixtures.”

Yes, indeed.

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