Some Noncarcinogenic Chemicals Become Carcinogenic When Mixed

Chemical in vial

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 29, 2021) – At a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Professor David Carpenter and international colleagues assessed the impact of low-dose chemical mixtures on human health by reviewing published studies of biological exposures to chemical mixtures. Based on their findings, the researchers discovered that noncarcinogenic chemicals can induce all 10 Hallmarks of Cancer when mixed. Thus, the researchers created the Low-Dose Carcinogenesis Hypothesis, which postulates that low-dose exposures to mixtures of chemicals that are not individually carcinogenic may collectively initiate cancer.    

At the conference, 60 representatives of 26 nations conducted a mini review of published studies which reported both different concentrations of chemicals and mixtures composed of different chemicals. Upon their review, the researchers inferred that a mixture of noncarcinogenic chemicals could act as a virtual carcinogen.    

Of note, the researchers explained that, “the majority of studies reported hormone related processes and used chemical concentrations that were not studied at human-relevant concentrations.” Thus, their findings indicated that new research programs are necessary in order to study how mixtures of small doses of chemicals affect human health.    

With over 80,000 chemicals on the market, the researchers advocate for the design and implementation of a methodology to test which low-dose chemical mixtures might be carcinogenic.