Estrogen, the hormone used in birth control pills and
hormone replacement therapy, should be listed as a known cancer-causing agent,
according to the advisers to the National Toxicology Panel (NTP).
Maybe, one scientist said, this step might encourage
doctors to talk with their patients about both the risks and the benefits.
"Physicians never discuss any of these risks when they are prescribing hormone
therapy," Michelle Medinsky, a toxicologist from Durham, N.C., told the National
Toxicology Program advisory committee. "They only discuss benefits. Listing
might force it on the table." Medinsky said.
"Is knowledge power or is ignorance bliss? Everyone has to
make their own decision," she said.
The advisory committee advises the NTP, a branch of the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) that every two years updates the federal
list of proven and suspected cancer-causing substances. The next update is
scheduled early in 2002.
Wood dust has
been associated with cancer of the nose and sinuses in workers in furniture
factories and cabinetmaking shops.
Ultraviolet Radiation was added due to the association with certain types of skin
Substances that the committee voted to be listed as
"reasonably anticipated" to be carcinogens include:
Methyleugenol is a compound that occurs naturally in a variety of spices and herbs, including clove oil, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and walnuts. According to one government report "Whether you intend to or not, chances are you will consume approximately 6 micrograms of methyleugenol (ME) today." In both its natural and synthetic forms, it is an FDA-approved additive, and it is widely used as a flavoring agent in desserts, condiments, and cigarettes, as an attractant in insecticides, and as a fragrance in perfumes and soaps.
is used in some industries and is also found in stainless steel
Trichloroethylene is a substance used to de-grease metal parts.
However, after a daylong debate, the panel refused to add
talc powder to the list, saying there
wasn't enough evidence linking its use in feminine hygiene products to ovarian
cancer. The panel deadlocked in a 5-5 vote over whether to list a second type of
talc, fibrous talc, which some studies
have linked to lung cancer in talc
For more information on this topic, try the following
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/
National Cancer Institute: