• Certain substances when in contact with normal body cells can cause them to proliferate abnormally (cancerous) and form a malignant invasive neoplasm. These substances are known as carcinogens and may directly affect the cell, or a by-product from its metabolism in the body may cause the effect
  • Cancer is a disease that affects many different parts of the body.  It occurs when cells in the body become abnormal and multiply in an uncontrolled way.  The uncontrolled (malignant) growth invades and destroys nearby tissue or it travels through the blood stream and starts secondary growths (metastases) elsewhere in the body
  • Some substances will only act to promote cancer when other substances, often non-carcinogenic, are present.
  • Mutagens cause permanent changes in the amount or structure of the genetic material in an organism.  A mutagen may cause heritable genetic damage and is also generally regarded as a possible carcinogen
  • Carcinogens do not cause cancer in every case. Substances classified as carcinogens may have different levels of cancer-causing potential and for any particular person, the risks of developing cancer depends on many factors, including the length and intensity of exposure to the carcinogen and the person’s genetic make-up



Examples of some carcinogenic substances and processes include:

  • Arsenic
  • Benzene
  • Asbestos
  • Vinyl Chloride
  • Work involving exposure to hardwood dusts
  • Isopropyl alcohol manufacture (strong acid process)
  • Work involving exposure to aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons present in coal soot, coal tar or coal pitch