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Five viruses, chemical, and metallic element added to carcinogens

Staff Writer | November 4, 2016
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 14th Report on Carcinogens includes seven newly reviewed substances, bringing the cumulative total to 248 listings.
New standard   Seven substances added to 14th Report on Carcinogens
The chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), and the metallic element cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo, are being added to the list, as well as five viruses that have been linked to cancer in humans.

The five viruses include human immunodeficiency virus type 1, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1, Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, and Merkel cell polyomavirus.

“Given that approximately 12 percent of human cancers worldwide may be attributed to viruses, and there are no vaccines currently available for these five viruses, prevention strategies to reduce the infections that can lead to cancer are even more critical,” said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP).

“The listings in this report, particularly the viruses, bring attention to the important role that prevention can play in reducing the world’s cancer burden. There are also things people can do to reduce their exposure to cobalt and TCE.”

Cancer-causing viruses:

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)
Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV)

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is an industrial solvent used primarily to make hydrofluorocarbon chemicals. It is being listed in the Report on Carcinogens as a known human carcinogen.

Cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo are being listed as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.