New research has discovered 50 everyday chemicals which combined could increase the risk of cancer.
While many substances may not be harmful alone, new findings have discovered that when mixed with others, they pose a threat. A group of 174 scientists in 28 countries looked into different studies which explored the link between mixing ‘common and unavoidable’ chemicals and how it affected the development of cancer.
From this research, 50 chemicals were ruled as having minor effects on the body in small doses but when combined, major changes could occur and lead to the disease.
Those which could be harmful include acrylamide found in fried potatoes, triclosan, often included in anti-bacterial handwash and titanium dioxide, an ingredient in sunscreen.
Copper, lead and mercury were also flagged up.
“Current approaches to the study of chemical exposures and carcinogenesis [formation of cancer] have not been designed to address effects at low concentrations or in complex mixtures,” the report stated.
At the moment, studies predict that one in five cancers could be caused by these chemicals, but more research needs to be conducted due to humans being exposed to thousands of chemicals on a daily basis.
Cancer biologist Dr Hemad Yasaei, of Brunel University in London, believes that this research is important as it raises awareness of chemicals which people do not consider unsafe.
“We urgently need to focus more resources to research the effect of low dose exposure to mixtures of chemicals in the food we eat, air we breathe and water we drink,” he advised.
However, Dr Yasaei doesn’t want people to get worried about these findings, published in Oxford University Press’s Carcinogenesis journal. He added that chemicals which are already linked to cancer were not looked into, but those which may cause changes in the cell were focused on.
For example, atrazine, used in weedkiller for maize crops in the US and seen as safe, may come into contact with nickel, but how it will affect the human body is not yet known.