Ethan A. Huff
Millions of people eat and drink from plastic and styrofoam cups and containers every single day, and the US government now admits that many of these consumer products contain known cancer-causing agents. The formaldehyde preservatives found in many disposable coffee cups and foam take-out containers, as well as styrene, another chemical additive used in such products, have both been added to the federal government’s list of known or suspected carcinogens.
The addition of these two chemicals, as well as six others, to the carcinogen list this year was reportedly a reluctant decision made by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which has been pressured by the chemical industry for years to delay coming forward with this information. Nevertheless, both formaldehyde and a chemical known as aristolochic acid have now been categorized as “known human carcinogens,” while captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide, certain glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine, and styrene have been dubbed “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.”
“Reducing exposure to cancer-causing agents is something we all want, and the Report on Carcinogens provides important information on substances that pose a cancer risk,” said Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of both the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). “The NTP is pleased to be able to compile this report.”
You can read the full report, entitled 12th Report on Carcinogens, here:
The chemical industry was quick to denounce the findings, of course, claiming that there is no significant danger from exposure to these chemicals. And some federal officials seem to be kowtowing to this pressure by telling the public that the main concern is the industrial use of these chemicals, rather than consumer use. Even the American Cancer Society (ACS) has urged the public not to worry about continuing to use plastic cups or foam containers, despite the fact that many are loaded with some of the chemicals in question.
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