Apparently anything can be carcinogenic, but only some are most likely to be. In any case banish the panic. Breast implants, deodorant and coffee are extremely unlikely to cause cancer, according to an Australian study.
Cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, deliberate exposure to sunlight and some relatively rare cancer drugs sit in the highest risk bracket for proven carcinogens, said Professor Bernard Stewart, from the University of New South Wales and South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Health.
AdvertisementAmong the "likely" risks were dope smoking, solarium use, eating large quantities of processed meats and living near a waste dump.
Considered less risky were hair dye use and living near power lines, while there was inadequate evidence for mobile phones, cosmetics and food additives.
Bernard Stewart all but ruled out risk for a range of other rumoured carcinogens including artificial sweeteners, coffee, deodorant, dental fillings, breast implants and fluoridated water, reports Sydney Morning Herald.
"No one should seriously lose sleep or change their behaviour in respect of these very, very unlikely things," he said.
"Actively involved members of the community must be concerned about the many reports they read often suggesting they should be cautious about various risks.
"We're working to allay many of the fears that everything can cause cancer because the risks are often insignificant."
The research, published in the journal Mutation Research Reviews, was released on Monday to coincide with World Cancer Day.
It reviews more than 60 possible cancer-causing agents or situations and ranks them in one of five bands corresponding to proven, likely, inferred, unknown or unlikely risk of cancer.
He said the sliding scale was more useful to the public than the usual percentage risk of developing disease and it also distinguished between different types of exposure.
"For instance, we know that arsenic is carcinogenic," Prof Stewart said.
"But smelter workers who are exposed to arsenic emissions are much more likely to develop cancer than children who have played on climbing frames constructed from arsenic-treated timber."
Cancer Council Australia chief executive Professor Ian Olver said it was vital the public had accurate information about carcinogens that pose a genuine concern and how best to reduce their risk.