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Environmental Causes Of Cancer This Essay Was Written Over Various Environmental Causes Of Cancer, Their Incidence Rates, And Other Related Information

2021 words - 9 pages

Environmental Causes of CancerThe term cancer does not refer to one specific disease, but rather to a large group of diseases. Cancer develops when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because of the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells. These cancer cells develop because of damage to DNA, which is found in every cell of the body and directs all of the cells' activities. Although people can inherit damaged DNA, (which accounts for inherited cancers) most of the time a person's DNA becomes damaged due to environmental causes. Environmental hazards such as exposure to radiation, industrial/household chemicals, and ...view middle of the document...

The largest direct consequence of the atomic explosion at Chernobyl was the huge increase in childhood thyroid cancer. This cancer is normally a very rare disease, however, it increased by as much as 60-fold in the areas heavily exposed to the radiation. The blast sent 50 tons of radioactive dust into an area of nearly 140,000 square miles, covering parts of the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, and spread 200 times more radioactivity than the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Over 4.9 million people are estimated to have radiation exposure as a result of the disaster, and numerous studies are still being conducted to identify increases in other cancer rates besides childhood thyroid cancer.According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 24 chemicals at present that are known to cause cancer in humans. Labeling a substance as a carcinogen often generates controversy because of the effects it can have on business and industry, and the controversy often occurs due to reliability of tests using bacteria, laboratory cells, and animals. There are hundreds of chemicals that can cause cancer in animals, and there are others that are known to induce cancerous changes in laboratory cells. Such chemicals may be suspected of causing cancer in humans, however, they cannot properly be said to cause cancer without having further proof. Unfortunately, some occupations carry an unusually high risk of exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. These include the manufacture of dyes and chemicals, the manufacture and repair of leather goods, the manufacture of isopropyl alcohol, and the production of plastics and other petroleum products. In fact, exposure to carcinogens in the work place is believed to account for 2-8 % of all human cancers. Aside from industrial chemicals, there are many household chemicals that are also associated with a high risk of cancer. For example, formaldehyde and phenol are known toxic chemicals found in many household air fresheners. These two chemicals alone can cause convulsions, circulatory collapse, and even death. Other household chemicals that are associated with cancer are: furniture polish, flea powders, lice shampoo, bleach, ammonia, and drain cleaner, just to name a few. Products such as these should be used according to manufacturer's directions and should never be mixed with other substances.Besides chemicals in the home and workplace, there are also pollutants that are inhaled from the air that can cause cancer. One example of this is asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. Today, many asbestos products have been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency, however, asbestos can still be found in older homes, in pipe and furnace insulation materials, and in textured paints and other coating materials. A risk is present when cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities disturb...

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