Carcinogens in the News

The CAREX Canada team offers two regular newsletters: the biannual e-Bulletin summarizing information on upcoming webinars, new publications, and updates to estimates and tools; and the monthly Carcinogens in the News, a digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada. Sign up for one of these newsletters, or both, below.

Largest study yet offers no clear talc link to ovarian cancer

CBC News – U.S. researchers who conducted the largest study yet into whether applying powder to the genitals increases a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer were unable to definitively put to rest the issue that has prompted thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other companies. Overall, the study did not find a significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer, but there appeared to be a heightened risk among certain women who used the products.
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Deciphering the code between air pollution and disease: The effect of particulate matter on cancer hallmarks

International Journal of Molecular Sciences – In this review, researchers summarize and discuss the evidence regarding the effect of particulate matter (PM) and its impact in carcinogenesis, considering the “hallmarks of cancer” including sustained proliferative signaling, evasion of growth suppression, resistance to cell death, acquisition of replicative immortality, angiogenesis induction, and activation of invasion and metastasis. They found that exposure to particulate matter induces multiple hallmarks of cancer seen during tumor development.
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Stanford water expert discusses wildfire’s threat to water quality

Stanford News – When fires jump from forests and grasslands to urban areas, they incinerate household and industrial items such as computers and cars, leaving behind a stew of chemicals and heavy metals. Rain can wash this into streams, rivers and municipal water treatment systems unprepared to deal with the toxic deluge. Heavy sediment loads from wildfire-related erosion can also clog water systems and strain treatment requirements.
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Evidence-based occupational health and safety interventions: a comprehensive overview of reviews

Occupational and Environmental Medicine – The aim of this overview of reviews is to provide a comprehensive basis to inform evidence-based decision-making about interventions in the field of OHS. According to the study authors, this is the first comprehensive overview of behavioural, relational and mixed interventions and their effectiveness in preventing occupational injuries and diseases. It provides policymakers with an important basis for making evidence-based decisions on interventions in this field.
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The price of recycling old laptops: Toxic fumes in Thailand’s lungs

New York Times – The e-waste industry is booming in Southeast Asia, and despite a ban on imports, Thailand is a center of the business. In addition to the danger posed to workers, if some types of electronic waste aren’t incinerated at a high enough temperature, dioxins, which can cause cancer and developmental problems, infiltrate the food supply. Without proper safeguarding, toxic heavy metals can also seep into the soil and groundwater.
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Short-term home radon tests faulty 99% of the time, Calgary study finds

CBC News – Short-term radon test kits are not an effective way to find out if your home has unsafe levels of the dangerous gas, a new study says. Researchers from the University of Calgary placed two test kits — a five-day and 90-day — in the same homes. Tests were done during the summer and winter months. The results showed that the short-term kits were imprecise up to 99% of the time when compared to a long-term test.
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Living near busy roads ‘increases risk of lung cancer by 10 per cent’

The Independent – Living within 50 metres of a major road can increase the risk of lung cancer by up to 10 per cent, according to new research on air pollution. The study, released by a coalition of 15 health and environment organizations, also showed that proximity to busy highways can stunt children’s lung development by up to 14 per cent.
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Nova Scotia buying 100 more radon detectors so people can test their homes

CBC News – Nova Scotia is spending $30,000 to ensure more people across the province have access to radon detectors. In 2017, 150 radon detectors were made available through library systems across the province, but the program became so popular there are eight-month waiting lists in some areas. The extra funds announced on Thursday will add 100 more detectors for libraries around the province and is expected to cut wait lists in half.
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Air pollution nanoparticles linked to brain cancer for first time

The Guardian – New research has linked air pollution nanoparticles to brain cancer for the first time. The ultra-fine particles (UFPs) are produced by fuel burning, particularly in diesel vehicles, and higher exposures significantly increase people’s chances of getting the deadly cancer. Previous work has shown that nanoparticles can get into the brain and that they can carry carcinogenic chemicals.
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Report of the Advisory Group to recommend priorities for the IARC Monographs during 2020–2024

IARC – An Advisory Group of 29 scientists from 18 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2019 to recommend priorities for the IARC Monographs programme during 2020–2024. The Advisory Group recommended a broad range of agents with high, medium, or low priority for evaluation. High priority agents include metalworking fluids, sedentary behavior, acrylamide, gasoline, firefighting, acetaldehyde, bisphenol A, and more.
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Investigation: Lead in some Canadian water worse than Flint

AP News – A yearlong investigation by more than 120 journalists from nine universities and 10 media organizations, including The Associated Press and the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal , collected test results that properly measure exposure to lead in 11 cities across Canada. Out of 12,000 tests since 2014, one-third — 33% — exceeded the national safety guideline of 5 parts per billion; 18% exceeded the U.S. limit of 15 ppb.
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Night shift work/breast cancer link demands action, says research

Workers Health & Safety Centre – Evidence of the link between night shift work and cancer has been mounting for over a decade, but a new Canadian cancer burden study finds we can’t wait for more definite proof. The new study, entitled “The Impact of night shift work on breast cancer: Results from the Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada Study”, found an estimated two to 5.2 per cent of the newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in women in 2011 were attributable to night shift work.
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Exposure to asbestos and the risk of colorectal cancer mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Occupational and Environmental Medicine – Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantitatively evaluate the association between exposure to asbestos and colorectal cancer. Although the effect size was small and the heterogeneity among studies was large, their findings indicate that occupational exposure to asbestos is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and that the risk of colorectal cancer mortality increases as the level of asbestos exposure rises.
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Report: Awareness of asbestos hazards in schools, asbestos management plans and training among Ontario school custodial workers

Occupational Cancer Research Centre – Asbestos was historically used in many public buildings in Canada, including schools, and little is known about how asbestos is managed in school settings. Custodial workers in schools have been identified as at-risk for potential exposure to asbestos during routine housekeeping or maintenance work. This report summarizes the findings from an evaluation of Ontario custodial workers’ awareness of asbestos management in schools.
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IARC gives justifications for monographs programme update

Chemical Watch – The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has outlined the “motivation and methodology” for the update to its monographs programme. In a commentary paper, IARC provides justification for changes to the programme’s “preamble”, which describes the procedures for the evaluation of a carcinogenicity hazard. Previously, there were five categories corresponding to groups 1, 2A, 2B, 3 and 4. The update removed group 4 (probably not carcinogenic to humans).
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Subscribe to our newsletters

The CAREX Canada team offers two regular newsletters: the biannual e-Bulletin summarizing information on upcoming webinars, new publications, and updates to estimates and tools; and the monthly Carcinogens in the News, a digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada. Sign up for one or both of these newsletters below.

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