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Cancer Causing Agents: List of Currently Known Human Carcinogens

  • Published: 2014-10-11 (Rev. 2015-08-27) - Contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World
  • Synopsis: A list of currently known carcinogens, substances, chemicals, and products known to cause cancer in humans.

Definition: Carcinogen

A Carcinogen is defined as any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes. Several radioactive substances are considered carcinogens, but their carcinogenic activity is attributed to the radiation, for example gamma rays and alpha particles, which they emit. Common examples of non-radioactive carcinogens are inhaled asbestos, certain dioxins, and tobacco smoke. Although the public generally associates carcinogenicity with synthetic chemicals, it is equally likely to arise in both natural and synthetic substances. Carcinogens are not necessarily immediately toxic, thus their effect can be insidious.

Main Document

"Identifying substances in our environment that can make people vulnerable to cancer will help in prevention efforts."

Four substances have been added in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 13th Report on Carcinogens, a science-based document that identifies chemical, biological, and physical agents that are considered cancer hazards for people living in the United States. The new report now includes 243 listings.

Three substances have been added as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. These include:

"Identifying substances in our environment that can make people vulnerable to cancer will help in prevention efforts," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). "This report provides a valuable resource for health regulatory and research agencies, and it empowers the public with information people can use to reduce exposure to cancer causing substances."

The Report on Carcinogens is a congressionally mandated report prepared for the HHS Secretary by NTP. The report identifies agents, substances, mixtures, or exposures in two categories: known to be a human carcinogen and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The new report is available at ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc13

A listing in the report indicates a cancer hazard, but does not by itself mean that a substance will cause cancer. Many factors, including the amount and duration of exposure, and an individual's susceptibility to a substance, can affect whether a person will develop cancer.

Also see our list of List of Ingredients & Additives in Cigarettes (Opens new window)

Jump-To:

Full List of Currently Known Human Carcinogens:
Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans
  • Acetaldehyde (from consuming alcoholic beverages)
  • Acid mists, strong inorganic
  • Aflatoxins
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Aluminum production
  • 4-Aminobiphenyl
  • Areca nut
  • Aristolochic acid (and plants containing it)
  • Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds
  • Asbestos (all forms) and mineral substances (such as talc or vermiculite) that contain asbestos
  • Auramine production
  • Azathioprine
  • Benzene
  • Benzidine and dyes metabolized to benzidine
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Beryllium and beryllium compounds
  • Betel quid, with or without tobacco
  • Bis(chloromethyl)ether and chloromethyl methyl ether (technical-grade)
  • Busulfan
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Cadmium and cadmium compounds
  • Chlorambucil
  • Chlornaphazine
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Clonorchis sinensis (infection with)
  • Coal, indoor emissions from household combustion
  • Coal gasification
  • Coal-tar distillation
  • Coal-tar pitch
  • Coke production
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Cyclosporine
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • Engine exhaust, diesel
  • Epstein-Barr virus (infection with)
  • Erionite
  • Estrogen postmenopausal therapy
  • Estrogen-progestogen postmenopausal therapy (combined)
  • Estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives (combined) (Note: There is also convincing evidence in humans that these agents confer a protective effect against cancer in the endometrium and ovary)
  • Ethanol in alcoholic beverages
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Etoposide
  • Etoposide in combination with cisplatin and bleomycin
  • Fission products, including strontium-90
  • Formaldehyde
  • Haematite mining (underground)
  • Helicobacter pylori (infection with)
  • Hepatitis B virus (chronic infection with)
  • Hepatitis C virus (chronic infection with)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) (infection with)
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 (infection with) (Note: The HPV types that have been classified as carcinogenic to humans can differ by an order of magnitude in risk for cervical cancer)
  • Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-1) (infection with)
  • Ionizing radiation (all types)
  • Iron and steel founding (workplace exposure)
  • Isopropyl alcohol manufacture using strong acids
  • Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV)/human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) (infection with)
  • Leather dust
  • Magenta production
  • Melphalan
  • Methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen) plus ultraviolet A radiation
  • 4,4'-Methylenebis(chloroaniline) (MOCA)
  • Mineral oils, untreated or mildly treated
  • MOPP and other combined chemotherapy including alkylating agents
  • 2-Naphthylamine
  • Neutron radiation
  • Nickel compounds
  • N'-Nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and 4-(N-Nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)
  • Opisthorchis viverrini (liver fluke; infection with)
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Painter (workplace exposure as a)
  • 3,4,5,3',4'-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-126)
  • 2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzofuran
  • Phenacetin (and mixtures containing it)
  • Phosphorus-32, as phosphate
  • Plutonium
  • Radioiodines, including iodine-131
  • Radionuclides, alpha-particle-emitting, internally deposited (Note: Specific radionuclides for which there is sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity to humans are also listed individually as Group 1 agents)
  • Radionuclides, beta-particle-emitting, internally deposited (Note: Specific radionuclides for which there is sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity to humans are also listed individually as Group 1 agents)
  • Radium-224 and its decay products
  • Radium-226 and its decay products
  • Radium-228 and its decay products
  • Radon-222 and its decay products
  • Rubber manufacturing industry
  • Salted fish (Chinese-style)
  • Schistosoma haematobium (flatworm; infection with)
  • Semustine (methyl-CCNU)
  • Shale oils
  • Silica dust, crystalline, in the form of quartz or cristobalite
  • Solar radiation
  • Soot (as found in workplace exposure of chimney sweeps)
  • Sulfur mustard
  • Tamoxifen (Note: There is also conclusive evidence that tamoxifen reduces the risk of contralateral breast cancer in breast cancer patients)
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin
  • Thiotepa
  • Thorium-232 and its decay products
  • Tobacco, smokeless
  • Tobacco smoke, secondhand
  • Tobacco smoking
  • ortho-Toluidine
  • Treosulfan
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, including UVA, UVB, and UVC rays
  • Ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Wood dust
  • X- and Gamma-radiation
National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens "Known to be human carcinogens"
  • Aflatoxins
  • Alcoholic beverage consumption
  • 4-Aminobiphenyl
  • Analgesic mixtures containing phenacetin
  • Aristolochic acids
  • Arsenic compounds, inorganic
  • Asbestos
  • Azathioprine
  • Benzene
  • Benzidine
  • Beryllium and beryllium compounds
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • 1,4-Butanediol dimethylsulfonate (busulfan, Myleran)
  • Cadmium and cadmium compounds
  • Chlorambucil
  • 1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-(4-methylcyclohexyl)-1-nitrosourea (MeCCNU)
  • bis(chloromethyl) ether and technical-grade chloromethyl methyl ether
  • Chromium hexavalent compounds
  • Coal tar pitches
  • Coal tars
  • Coke oven emissions
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Cyclosporin A
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES)
  • Dyes metabolized to benzidine
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Erionite
  • Estrogens, steroidal
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Human papilloma viruses: some genital-mucosal types
  • Melphalan
  • Methoxsalen with ultraviolet A therapy (PUVA)
  • Mineral oils (untreated and mildly treated)
  • Mustard gas
  • 2-Naphthylamine
  • Neutrons
  • Nickel compounds
  • Oral tobacco products
  • Radon
  • Silica, crystalline (respirable size)
  • Solar radiation
  • Soots
  • Strong inorganic acid mists containing sulfuric acid
  • Sunlamps or sunbeds, exposure to
  • Tamoxifen
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD); "dioxin"
  • Thiotepa
  • Thorium dioxide
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Ultraviolet radiation, broad spectrum UV radiation
  • Wood dust
  • X-radiation and gamma radiation
International Agency for Research on Cancer Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans
  • Acrylamide
  • Adriamycin (doxorubicin)
  • Androgenic (anabolic) steroids
  • Art glass, glass containers, and press ware (manufacture of)
  • Azacitidine
  • Biomass fuel (primarily wood), emissions from household combustion
  • Bischloroethyl nitrosourea (BCNU)
  • Captafol
  • Carbon electrode manufacture
  • Chloramphenicol
  • alpha-Chlorinated toluenes (benzal chloride, benzotrichloride, benzyl chloride) and benzoyl chloride (combined exposures)
  • 1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea (CCNU)
  • 4-Chloro-ortho-toluidine
  • Chlorozotocin
  • Cisplatin
  • Cobalt metal with tungsten carbide
  • Creosotes
  • Cyclopenta[cd]pyrene
  • Dibenz[a,h]anthracene
  • Dibenzo[a,l]pyrene
  • Diethyl sulfate
  • Dimethylcarbamoyl chloride
  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Dimethyl sulfate
  • Epichlorohydrin
  • Ethyl carbamate (urethane)
  • Ethylene dibromide
  • N-Ethyl-N-nitrosourea
  • Frying, emissions from high-temperature
  • Glycidol
  • Hairdresser or barber (workplace exposure as)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 68 (infection with)
  • Indium phosphide
  • IQ (2-Amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline)
  • Lead compounds, inorganic
  • Mate, hot
  • 5-Methoxypsoralen
  • Methyl methanesulfonate
  • N-Methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG)
  • N-Methyl-N-nitrosourea
  • Nitrate or nitrite (ingested) under conditions that result in endogenous nitrosation
  • Nitrogen mustard
  • N-Nitrosodiethylamine
  • N-Nitrosodimethylamine
  • 2-Nitrotoluene
  • Non-arsenical insecticides (workplace exposures in spraying and application of)
  • Petroleum refining (workplace exposures in)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Procarbazine hydrochloride
  • Shiftwork that involves circadian disruption
  • Styrene-7,8-oxide
  • Teniposide
  • Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene)
  • Trichloroethylene
  • 1,2,3-Trichloropropane
  • Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
  • Vinyl bromide (Note: For practical purposes, vinyl bromide should be considered to act similarly to the human carcinogen vinyl chloride.)
  • Vinyl fluoride (Note: For practical purposes, vinyl fluoride should be considered to act similarly to the human carcinogen vinyl chloride.)
National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens "Reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens"
  • Acetaldehyde
  • 2-Acetylaminofluorene
  • Acrylamide
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Adriamycin (doxorubicin hydrochloride)
  • 2-Aminoanthraquinone
  • o-Aminoazotoluene
  • 1-Amino-2,4-dibromoanthraquinone
  • 1-Amino-2-methylanthraquinone
  • 2-Amino-3,4-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (MeIQ)
  • 2-Amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx)
  • 2-Amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ)
  • 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP)
  • Amitrole
  • o-Anisidine hydrochloride
  • Azacitidine (5-Azacytidine, 5-AzaC)
  • Benz[a]anthracene
  • Benzo[b]fluoranthene
  • Benzo[j]fluoranthene
  • Benzo[k]fluoranthene
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Benzotrichloride
  • Bromodichloromethane
  • 2, 2-bis-(bromoethyl)-1,3-propanediol (technical grade)
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Captafol
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Ceramic fibers (respirable size)
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Chlorendic acid
  • Chlorinated paraffins (C12, 60% chlorine)
  • 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea
  • Bis(chloroethyl) nitrosourea
  • Chloroform
  • 3-Chloro-2-methylpropene
  • 4-Chloro-o-phenylenediamine
  • Chloroprene
  • p-Chloro-o-toluidine and p-chloro-o-toluidine hydrochloride
  • Chlorozotocin
  • C.I. basic red 9 monohydrochloride
  • Cisplatin
  • Cobalt sulfate
  • Cobalt-tungsten carbide: powders and hard metals
  • p-Cresidine
  • Cupferron
  • Dacarbazine
  • Danthron (1,8-dihydroxyanthraquinone)
  • 2,4-Diaminoanisole sulfate
  • 2,4-Diaminotoluene
  • Diazoaminobenzene
  • Dibenz[a,h]acridine
  • Dibenz[a,j]acridine
  • Dibenz[a,h]anthracene
  • 7H-Dibenzo[c,g]carbazole
  • Dibenzo[a,e]pyrene
  • Dibenzo[a,h]pyrene
  • Dibenzo[a,i]pyrene
  • Dibenzo[a,l]pyrene
  • 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane
  • 1,2-Dibromoethane (ethylene dibromide)
  • 2,3-Dibromo-1-propanol
  • Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
  • 1,4-Dichlorobenzene
  • 3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine and 3,3'-dichlorobenzidine dihydrochloride
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)
  • 1,2-Dichloroethane (ethylene dichloride)
  • Dichloromethane (methylene chloride)
  • 1,3-Dichloropropene (technical grade)
  • Diepoxybutane
  • Diesel exhaust particulates
  • Diethyl sulfate
  • Diglycidyl resorcinol ether
  • 3,3'-Dimethoxybenzidine
  • 4-Dimethylaminoazobenzene
  • 3,3'-Dimethylbenzidine
  • Dimethylcarbamoyl chloride
  • 1,1-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Dimethyl sulfate
  • Dimethylvinyl chloride
  • 1,6-Dinitropyrene
  • 1,8-Dinitropyrene
  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • Disperse blue 1
  • Dyes metabolized to 3,3'-dimethoxybenzidine
  • Dyes metabolized to 3,3'-dimethylbenzidine
  • Epichlorohydrin
  • Ethylene thiourea
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
  • Ethyl methanesulfonate
  • Furan
  • Glass wool fibers (inhalable)
  • Glycidol
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane isomers
  • Hexachloroethane
  • Hexamethylphosphoramide
  • Hydrazine and hydrazine sulfate
  • Hydrazobenzene
  • Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene
  • Iron dextran complex
  • Isoprene
  • Kepone (chlordecone)
  • Lead and lead compounds
  • Lindane and other hexachlorocyclohexane isomers
  • 2-Methylaziridine (propylenimine)
  • 5-Methylchrysene
  • 4,4'-Methylenebis(2-chloroaniline)
  • 4-4'-Methylenebis(N,N-dimethyl)benzenamine
  • 4,4'-Methylenedianiline and its dihydrochloride salt
  • Methyleugenol
  • Methyl methanesulfonate
  • N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine
  • Metronidazole
  • Michler's ketone [4,4'-(dimethylamino) benzophenone]
  • Mirex
  • Naphthalene
  • Nickel (metallic)
  • Nitrilotriacetic acid
  • o-Nitroanisole
  • Nitrobenzene
  • 6-Nitrochrysene
  • Nitrofen (2,4-dichlorophenyl-p-nitrophenyl ether)
  • Nitrogen mustard hydrochloride
  • Nitromethane
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • 1-Nitropyrene
  • 4-Nitropyrene
  • N-nitrosodi-n-butylamine
  • N-nitrosodiethanolamine
  • N-nitrosodiethylamine
  • N-nitrosodimethylamine
  • N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine
  • N-nitroso-N-ethylurea
  • 4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone
  • N-nitroso-N-methylurea
  • N-nitrosomethylvinylamine
  • N-nitrosomorpholine
  • N-nitrosonornicotine
  • N-nitrosopiperidine
  • N-nitrosopyrrolidine
  • N-nitrososarcosine
  • o-Nitrotoluene
  • Norethisterone
  • Ochratoxin A
  • 4,4'-Oxydianiline
  • Oxymetholone
  • Phenacetin
  • Phenazopyridine hydrochloride
  • Phenolphthalein
  • Phenoxybenzamine hydrochloride
  • Phenytoin
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Procarbazine hydrochloride
  • Progesterone
  • 1,3-Propane sultone
  • beta-Propiolactone
  • Propylene oxide
  • Propylthiouracil
  • Reserpine
  • Riddelliine
  • Safrole
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Streptozotocin
  • Styrene
  • Styrene-7,8-oxide
  • Sulfallate
  • Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene)
  • Tetrafluoroethylene
  • Tetranitromethane
  • Thioacetamide
  • 4,4'-Thiodianaline
  • Thiourea
  • Toluene diisocyanate
  • o-Toluidine and o-toluidine hydrochloride
  • Toxaphene
  • Trichloroethylene
  • 2,4,6-Trichlorophenol
  • 1,2,3-Trichloropropane
  • Ultraviolet A radiation
  • Ultraviolet B radiation
  • Ultraviolet C radiation
  • Urethane
  • Vinyl bromide
  • 4-Vinyl-1-cyclohexene diepoxide
  • Vinyl fluoride

References:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1 - 100. 2011.

US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. 2011.

List of Ingredients and Additives in Cigarettes - Disabled World - (2011-05-26)
https://www.disabled-world.com/medical/pharmaceutical/addiction/cigarette-ingredients.php

Facts: Carcinogen List

One Substance Added as a Known Human Carcinogen

Since 1983, ortho-toluidine has been listed in the Report on Carcinogens as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. However, new cancer studies led NTP to reevaluate and reclassify ortho-toluidine, and it is now added to the category of known to be a human carcinogen, based on studies in humans showing it causes urinary bladder cancer. Ortho-toluidine is a synthetic chemical produced in other countries and imported into the United States by several companies in high volumes. It is primarily used to make rubber chemicals, pesticides, and dyes. It is also used in some consumer and medical products. People are mainly exposed through the workplace, by skin contact and/or inhalation when using ortho-toluidine. People can also be exposed outside the workplace through sources such as tobacco smoke.

Three Substances Added to the New Report as Reasonably Anticipated to Be a Human Carcinogen






Related Information:

  1. Newly Discovered Compounds Hundreds of Times More Mutagenic - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Science Foundation - (2014-01-06)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/mutagenic.php
  2. Charred Meat May Increase Risk of Pancreatic Cancer - American Association for Cancer Research - (2009-04-21)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/pancreatic/charred-meat-cancer.php
  3. Paraffin Candles Source of Carcinogens and Pollution - American Chemical Society - (2009-08-19)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/medical/recalls/candles-carcinogens.php
  4. Suspected Cancer Carcinogens - Report Outlines Knowledge Gaps - American Cancer Society - (2010-07-15)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/Suspected-Cancer-Carcinogens.php
  5. Cancer Survival Rate Statistics by Type of Cancer - Disabled World - (2010-07-15)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/cancer-survival-rate.php




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