The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that lindane, an insecticide, widely used in agriculture and to treat human lice and scabies, can cause cancer and has been specifically linked to the occurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare kind of cancer.
Lindane is banned in U.K and the U.S. Even today lindane is used as an ingredient in treatment for lice and scabies in Canada, India and China. According to WHO, people in Britain might still be exposed to chemical via food products imported from developing countries.
WHO's International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) further revealed that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) could be carcinogenic. Researchers found evidence that linked exposure of DDT to increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), testicular cancer and liver cancer.
Dr. Kurt Straif of IARC, said "The agricultural usage of Lindane has been severely restricted starting in the 1970s and current general-population exposure is mainly through diet or when treated for scabies or lice. There are currently no epidemiological studies to quantify the lymphoma risk from these exposures."
In a review of various agricultural chemicals, IARC's specialist panel classified lindane as "carcinogenic to humans" in its Group 1 category, DDT as "probably carcinogenic to humans" in its Group 2A class, and the herbicide 2,4-D as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" in its Group 2B.
IARC said exposure to chemicals occur during manufacturing and application, people in the general population can be exposed through food, water, dust, residential application and during spraying.