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New Report Removes Saccharin, Adds Smoke
W A S H I N G T O N, May 15 The latest U.S. government report on what causes cancer, issued today, removed saccharin from the list of suspected carcinogens, but added 14 substances, including second-hand tobacco smoke, as known causes.
It also added alcoholic beverages as known causes of human cancer, along with sunshine and sunlamps, silica dust and the breast-cancer drug tamoxifen although the report noted that while cancer drugs may increase the incidence of other cancers, the benefits often outweigh the risks.
The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, which issued the biannual report, said it removed saccharin as a potential cancer-causing agent because tests that showed it caused tumors in rats did not apply to humans.
It had been listed since 1981.
Two decades ago, when saccharin was shown to produce bladder tumors in rats, it was a prudent, protective step to consider the sweetener to be a likely human carcinogen, NIEHS Director Dr. Kenneth Olden said in a statement.
Science Has Advanced
He also said humans had used saccharin for decades without increasing rates of cancer.
The NIEHS also removed ethyl acrylate, a substance used in making latex paints and textiles, from the list. Both were removed at the request of industry groups.
The report listed 218 substances known or suspected to cause cancer in people. The NIEHS said 14 had either been upgraded to the known category or added to the list.
Smoke Tops the List
Alcohol Associated With Some Cancers
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W E B L I N K S
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
CDCs Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences