Low-dose exposure to multiple chemicals may increase cancer-causing mutations

Photo credit: Transformer18 Photo credit: Transformer18

A recent study published in the scientific journal Carcinogenesis examined how exposure to low-doses of chemical cocktails found in the environment affect human health. Data on 85 different chemicals were reviewed to determine if they might play a role in the formation of cancerous cells. While many of the chemicals alone were not cancer-causing, they became so in the presence of other chemicals. Exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA)—a chemical commonly used in household plastics—disrupts DNA function and blocks signals between cells in the body. Meanwhile, atrazine is the most commonly detected herbicide in U.S. soil and water, and exhibits weak DNA mutation properties that could disrupt the immune system. Exposure to each one of these chemicals individually is unlikely to cause cancer-causing mutations. However, together they are much more likely to lead to irreparable genetic mutations that could result in the formation of cancerous cells.