How to Reduce Carcinogen Exposure

Home / Cancer / How to Reduce Carcinogen Exposure

Carcinogens are chemicals, substances and exposures that can lead to the development of cancer.

Eating a clean, healthy diet is only half of the picture when it comes to creating an anti-cancerous terrain in your body. Your toxic exposure makes up the other important half of your health formula. Specific carcinogens that you get exposed to can increase your risk of developing or perpetuating cancer. This risk is dependent upon the method of exposure, the length and intensity of exposure, the dosage of exposure along with your personal genetics.


The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the governing agency that tests and reviews chemicals to determine if they are a carcinogen. Because testing for carcinogens is difficult and unethical to do on humans, testing is mainly done on lab animals. Scientists also use what they already know about chemical structures to make appropriate conclusions.

A substance is considered a carcinogen when the evidence is conclusive that it can cause cancer. If the evidence is compelling but inconclusive, the substance is labeled a “probable carcinogen.”


  • Over 80,000 new chemicals have been released into the environment since WWII.
  • Less than 5% of these chemicals have been tested for safety.   A-l-a-r-m-i-n-g!
  • More than 1,000 new chemicals are released into the environment every year.
  • A 1500% increase in US synthetic chemical production has occurred from 1900-2000.


Chemicals are only tested individually and NEVER in combination with other chemicals or substances but studies show that the combined effect of multiple chemicals causes more damage than simply the sum of the two parts.

5 Routes of Carcinogen Entry


A 2012 study published in the Federation of the American Societies of Experimental Biology showed that phthalates, which is a class of plasticizing chemicals that are often found in fragrance products, helped to fuel some of the most hard to treat forms of breast cancer including estrogen receptor negative (ER-).

Sources of phthalates to avoid: Air fresheners, scented candles, synthetic perfumes & fragrances, shampoo, nail polish, hairspray, non-stick cookware, arts & craft supplies, paints, cleaning products, and other personal care products.

Other hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) to be aware of and avoid include

  • Radon—a radioactive gas caused by the breakdown of uranium in soil and comes from being indoors in homes, offices, & buildings.
  • Benzene—used in the pharmaceutical industry and is a natural component of crude oil and fracking emissions. It is also found in glues, adhesives, secondhand tobacco smoke, and motor vehicle exhaust.
  • Asbestos—used in insulation and products such as roofing shingles, fire blankets, clutches, brake linings, gaskets and pads for automobiles.


Remember that your skin is the largest organ of the human body. You can think of it as having a million little mouths that you’re feeding every time you put something on your skin. The best rule of thumb to follow—if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

Products to be cautious of: lotions, sunscreens, bug sprays, bath soaps, perfumes, clothing with azo dyes, and cleaning products.


Carcinogenic nanoparticles have been found in tattoo inks. Formaldehyde is commonly found in vaccinations even though it is a Class 1 carcinogen. IV drugs can also contain carcinogens including some chemotherapy drugs; NINE chemo agents are considered Class 1 carcinogens.


  • Arsenic—found in groundwater, present in grains, vegetables, & fruits due to the soil & water they’re grown in. Rice takes up arsenic more readily than other grains.
  • Fluoride & Hexavalent Chromium—found in tap water.
  • Glyphosate—used in pesticides worldwide, sprayed on golf courses, home gardens, and is used on GMO crops.
    Processed Meats—hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and deli meats preserved by smoking, curing, or salting or by adding preservatives like synthetic nitrates.
  • Alcohol—greater consumption equals greater risk of breast, colon, and liver cancer.
    Chemo Agents—both Tamoxifen (used for breast cancer) and Thiotepa (used for ovarian cancer) are Class 1 carcinogens.
  • BCP & HRT—birth control and hormone replacement therapy are Class 1 carcinogens.

Ambient Exposure

Radiation—x-rays, cell phones, tanning beds, airport scanners, air travel, & cancer treatments.
Artificial Lights—especially nightshift workers but also cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
UV Rays—the main source is through sun exposure.

Detoxification Approaches

Detoxification is a vital process for removing toxins from the body. Toxins should be eliminated from the body through urine and fecal excretion, but if the body is unable to eliminate these chemicals, they begin to accumulate in adipose tissue, or fat cells. The more toxins you are exposed to, the heavier burden it places on your detoxification organs like your liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs and skin.

In a fully functioning liver, carcinogens should be broken down in two main processes, called Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification. Over a hundred cytochrome p450 enzymes are involved in Phase 1 detox. It is here that a person’s genetic mutations, or SNPs, can negatively impact how carcinogens are metabolized. The rate at which Phase 1 breaks down toxins must also be balanced with the rate of Phase 2 metabolism. If Phase 1 is too fast for Phase 2 to keep up, an increase of free radicals will be generated. Increased toxicity to certain drugs can also occur as a result of a slow Phase 2 detox.



  • Known and Probable Human Carcinogens. Accessed June 4, 2017. ttp://
  • “Tsung-Hua Hsieh, et al. “Phthalates induce proliferation and invasiveness” February 2012 The FASEB Journal vol. 26 no. 2 778-787



Related Posts

Leave a Comment