Friday, October 3, 2014

Are you gonna get cancer? Me? Probably.

This morning, John checks out the recent report on carcinogens from the Department of Health and Human Services and notes that he's interacted with 11 of the 243 different items.

Here's my list of doom: Alcoholic Beverage Consumption, Benzene, 1-Bromopropane, Butylated Hydroxyanisole, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform, Chromium Hexavalent Compounds, 1,2-Dibromoethane, Dimethyl Sulfate, Formaldehyde, Hydrazine, Naphthalene, Phenolphthalein, Styrene

That's 15 items. (Does 32P count for ionizing radiation? That's a beta-emitter, right? I didn't count it.)

Readers, how about you?

18 comments:

  1. 13, but that's not including the likely long list of PAHs I've consumed through burnt food...

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  2. I don't believe for one second that your list is that short. To begin with, acetaldehyde from the alcoholic beverage consumption should be added. But how have you avoided 1,4-dioxane or furan? Then there's the UV radiation listing. Do you never walk outside in the sun? never?! Tobacco smoke, environmental? Wood dust? Silica (respirable size)? Sure you might argue that I've listed off the Reasonably Anticipated to be Human Carcinogens, but you opened that window in your list.

    Also, how does an active organic chemist come up with such a small list? I mean, if you only come up with 15 then I'm in serious trouble.

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    1. Yeah, I thought I had 1,4-dioxane on my list, but apparently not. Also, DCE and DCM. I'm up to 18 now.

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    2. Maybe thiourea in grad school? And yes, the UV exposure. 20.

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  3. 15 does seem on the low side, unless you are talking about things you have had exposure to rather than worked with. I got 29, and that doesn't include any of the large polyaromatics that I worked with, and I stripped out all but one of the UV and Tobacco entries each. Elemental fluorine hasn't been proven to be carcinogenic - I wonder why!

    Is there any statistical evidence for chemistry research lowering life expectancy?

    Also is there any way to get the twitter API on your comments? I don't have livejournal or AIM. Does anyone?

    @FluorinatedAdam

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  4. I have tons of cells with mutated genes all the time. I may get cancer without these environmental factors.

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  5. Did you add pthalates to the count for the Rubber Ducky you are always fondling?

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  6. 25 expected 8 known.

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  7. Epidemiologists finding correlations with their statistical software black box are known to cause cancer in the state of California.

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  8. Consumption of copious quantities of saturated fat, physical inactivity, stress, untreated high blood pressure, sitting all day, and illegal stimulant drugs, when combined, significantly decrease the odds of dying from cancer.

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  9. Woohoo! 33! High Score!

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  10. I can't be bothered to go through it, but I must be in the 30's at least....

    There are only a few published papers:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7252610
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16174663

    Both find *lower* cancer rates, but this is likely due to education and generally higher incomes, less
    smoking, etc.. There must be some effects of occupational exposures, but likely daily general exposures are >>. Moreover, PPE standards are vastly better now than they were, so modern effects are likely miniscule. Counterintuitive, but that's science for you!

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  11. pi stacking, planar DNA intercalators, halogenated DNA alkylators, d-block metal complexes, singlet oxygen, free radicals (from ozone, peroxides and cellular processes), UV light...man-made water, air and food pollution from industrial waste, preservatives and insecticides sprayed on plants. You are bound to get cancer whether you're a chemist or not.

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    1. ^^^ I guess I forgot another class of compounds...the ubiquitous carbonyl compounds. Aldehydes and Me, Et-type less sterically hindered ketones You're offenders based on inductive effects: aryl aldehydes, aryl HALO aldehydes and to a lesser extent aryl ketones and aryl HALO ketones etc. You can't forget polymerizing agents: ALL classes of acrylates, styrene and variants, chain transfer agents, radical initiators etc. The amazing thing is that we encounter most of these cmpds. everyday by eating common foods or rubbing crap on our skin.

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  12. A study of the mortality among members of the Royal Society of Chemistry in Britain came out several years ago. Conclusion - chemists had no excess mortality from any causes, including cancer.

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  13. Hmmm... I wonder if the same results would be obtained by doing a study of chemists in China. Or Russia. Or even the US.

    Of all the chemophobes I have met in my life, a large majority of them are British. Hard to get cancer when you are spending all your time in a cube trying to get approvals to do some work.

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  14. Decaborane is on my list. On the other hand, the list of boron hydride chemists that lived to very old age is quite long. Maybe the boron hydrides do a good job of encasing the organs in a protective coating.

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  15. 55 of them. That's what I get for being environmental/analytical.

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