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What makes some hazardous materials carcinogens?

Numerous people here in Ohio and elsewhere across the country receive diagnoses of cancer every day. Some of those individuals contracted their conditions after exposure to hazardous materials labeled as carcinogens. The question many people may have is how a certain substance or material receives this label.

Studies of toxic and hazardous materials by researchers help identify those that could be human carcinogens, which means they can cause adverse health consequences to people exposed to them, including cancer. Researchers use animal testing and cell cultures to make their determinations. In fact, substances that cause cancer in lab animals tend to also cause it in humans.

However, the data may not be that easy to decipher since lab animals are typically exposed to higher levels than a human would ordinarily encounter. For this reason, researchers conduct studies with humans in which they extrapolate information as best they can since humans do not live in the same controlled environments as lab animals. Therefore, they simply take all the information they can gather in order to make a determination.

When the evidence points to a particular substance causing cancer in humans, but remains inconclusive, it becomes a probable carcinogen. When researchers only have limited evidence and they are nowhere near having conclusive evidence, a material is referred to as a possible carcinogen. Only when the evidence is conclusive is something judged a carcinogen.

It is clear that a great deal of research and evidence goes into labeling certain hazardous materials, such as asbestos, as human carcinogens. Once this information is disseminated to the appropriate authorities, rules, regulations and laws can be created to protect the public. However, that does not seem to stop Ohio residents and others from contracting cancer and other ailments from substances known to cause health issues to those exposed to them.

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