June 23, 2015 — Three months after declaring Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup a “probable” human carcinogen, the cancer division of the World Health Organization (WHO) has found more insecticides and herbicides that might also cause cancer.
According to Reuters, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued warnings on three chemicals:
- Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT): This insecticide “probably” causes cancer in humans, with studies linking it to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, testicular cancer, and liver cancer.
- Lindane: This insecticide is “carcinogenic to humans” and has been specifically linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- 2,4-D: This herbicide is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Studies did not find strong evidence linking it to cancer, but there was evidence that it causes oxidative stress and may suppress the immune system.
Lindane is still used in shampoo to kill lice and is applied directly to the skin to treat scabies. The products have been on the market since the 1950s and are still approved by the FDA.
DDT was introduced during World War II and later used to eradicate malaria. Most uses were banned in the 1970s, but malaria control still exists in parts of Africa. According to the study, many people are still exposed to DDT by eating contaminated food.
The chemical 2,4-D was one of two herbicides used in Agent Orange, the chemical used by the U.S. military to deforest jungles and destroy food crops during the Vietnam War, according to The Independent.
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