Don’t worry, your cup of morning coffee and the antiperspirant in your gym bag won’t give you cancer, but here are some of the things that might, according to research:

Name Description Does it cause cancer?
Obesity Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. It is believed that excess fat on the body causes inflammation, which leads to carcinogenesis. Yes
Certain types oral contraceptives The commonly used oestrogen-progestogen oral contraceptive is classified as a known carcinogen. Yes
Tanning beds Tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation which causes cancer. Yes
Sunshine Ultraviolet A and B radiation is a well-known cause of skin cancer Yes
Hair straightener (Brazilian keratin type) Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and high levels of this chemical can be found in various hair straightening products. Probably carcinogenic
Frying Yet another reason to stay away from fried food. The emissions released from frying food are potentially carcinogenic. Probably carcinogenic

The jury is still out about whether these household items and everyday activities will increase your risk of cancer:

Name Description
Canned food and drinks Cans are sealed with an epoxy resin that contains BPA – a known carcinogen. However it is uncertain to what extent this chemical is transferred to the foodstuff in the can.
Cling wrap Household cling wrap has been tested by CANSA and found to be safe. However, many of the large rolls of cling wrap used to cover food products at retailers contain a plasticiser with carcinogenic properties.
Ginko biloba extract Used in many herbal supplements as a memory booster, ginko biloba was recently linked the development of liver and thyroid cancers, as well as nasal tumours in laboratory rats. Although the same result have not been confirmed in humans, experts are cautioning against its use.
Processed meat The food preservative, nitrite, is often used in the preparation of processed meats. Although low levels of nitrite are not harmful, concentrated levels might occur on on dried meat products.
Cosmetics Although the verdict is still out on whether or not cosmetics may be carcinogenic, Dr Albrecht raised his concern about varying standards and lack of regulation. Known carcinogens such as lead and formaldehyde have been found in some cosmetics.
Hair dye Earlier hair dye formulations contained high levels of carcinogins such as aromatic amines. Although the hair industry has reformulated their products to be safer, dyes contain as many as 5 000 chemicals, some of which may be carcinogenic to humans.
Stress Although stress itself has not been linked to cancer, it is believed to weaken the body’s natural defences which might make it vulnerable to the development of cancer cells.
Talcum powder Although there are no strong links between cancer and talcum powder, researchers have found a higher-than-normal rate of ovarian cancer in women who regularly use it in the genital area.
Cellphone, TV and radio waves Although there has been some research linking radiofrequency electromagnetic fields – emitted by wireless devices such as cellphones – to certain types of brain cancers, the WHO released a statement saying that the evidence is insufficient and classified is as being possibly carcinogenic.
Thermal invoice paper Contains BPA and a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found levels of BPA in people’s urine after they handled thermal invoice paper.

 

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