Cancer Risks Double When Exposed to Two Carcinogens at "Safe" Levels
A recent study by Texas Tech University highlights a serious flaw in the federal government's testing of the potential toxicity of various substances. The government currently only requires the study of substances in isolation - i.e., if a substance is deemed safe at a certain low level, there is no additional testing required to determine how that substance may react with other substances to which a person may also be exposed.
The study found that a combination of two chemicals, arsenic and Bisphenol A (BPA), was almost twice as likely to create cancer in prostate cells, even at levels low enough to be considered "safe" for humans on their own.
Given this statement, there are two things we should consider:
- There are some 84,000 chemical substances in use in the U.S. market, and the federal government has full health and safety data on only a small percentage of them. It is, therefore, not surprising that there have been few studies examining the potential for adverse health effects potentially caused by multiple substances.
- The average person is exposed to any number of chemical substances daily.
If a combination of two substances at allegedly “low” levels can double the risk of prostate cancer, I can't imagine what other adverse health effects we may be at risk of contracting.
With a finding of a doubling of the cancer risk, the Texas tech study may prompt additional studies attempting to determine the effects of exposure to low doses of multiple substances. As a result, companies may face liability even for doses deemed safe for an individual substance by current government standards. This could impact General Liability, Commercial Umbrella, Product Liability and Workers' Compensation coverage.