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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 18, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 47
HIV added to list of carcinogens
Section One
ALL STORIES
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HIV added to list of carcinogens

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said on November 10 that it was adding HIV to its list of carcinogens. The virus was one of seven new cancer-causing agents listed.

The DHHS list identifies factors, including chemicals, viruses, and environmental factors like X-rays and ultraviolet radiation, and divides them into two categories: those known to be human carcinogens and those 'reasonably anticipated' to be carcinogens.

Five viruses, which have been linked to more than 20 different types of cancer, are being added to the 'known carcinogens' category.

These include HIV-1, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV), and two herpes viruses - Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV).

Since there are no vaccines available for these five viruses, prevention strategies are even more critical, said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

A chemical called trichloroethylene (TCE) is also on the list as a 'known human carcinogen.' The industrial solvent is used primarily to make hydrofluorocarbon chemicals.

Cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions within the human body have been listed as 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.'

Cobalt is a naturally occurring element used to make metal alloys and other metal compounds. It is used in military and industrial equipment and rechargeable batteries.

The addition of these seven new carcinogens brings the cumulative total up to 248 listings. Appearing on the DHHS list indicates a cancer hazard but does not necessarily imply the substance or virus will cause cancer, the DHHS said.

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