Chemical used in making rubber linked to cancer

LONDON (Reuters) - A chemical commonly used to make rubber products may cause cancer in people exposed to fumes during the manufacturing process, British researchers said on Tuesday.

Workers exposed to 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, or MBT, at a rubber chemicals plant in North Wales were twice as likely to develop colon cancer and four times as likely to get bone marrow cancer compared to the general population, they said.

“Perhaps MBT should be handled with increased care as it may be a human carcinogen,” Tom Sorahan of the University of Birmingham and colleagues said in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The risk is probably limited to factory workers exposed to MBT when added to a mixture of chemicals eventually used as a component to make rubber products, he added.

“People using rubber goods wouldn’t be exposed because MBT wouldn’t be given off,” Sorahan said. “The problem is for people manufacturing the MBT in industry.”

Previous studies have suggested the chemical may cause tumors in mice, but the latest findings are some of the first to link MBT to cancer in humans, Sorahan told Reuters.

His team looked at death rates for 363 workers exposed to the chemical who had worked at the plant for at least six months between 1955 and 1984 and diagnoses of cancer from 1971 to 2005.

The risks also seemed to rise the longer a person was exposed to the chemical. But more research was needed to confirm the findings because the study included a relatively small number of workers, Sorahan added.

“This can only be confirmed one way or the other by doing large studies,” he said.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Nick Vinocur)


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Research from Italy provides new evidence that exposure to the industrial solvent benzene increases a person’s risk of developing multiple myeloma. Dr. Adele Seniori Constantini of the Center for Study and Prevention of Cancer and her colleagues also found an increased risk of chronic lymphoid leukemia with benzene exposure. Two other

Full Post: New study backs solvent, leukemia link

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people may be surprised by the number of chemicals they are exposed to through everyday household products, a small study finds, suggesting, researchers say, that consumers need to learn more about sources of indoor pollution. In interviews with 25 women who’d had their homes and bodies tested for

Full Post: Pollution at home often lurks unrecognized

By Anne Harding NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that health care workers are more likely to die from bloodborne infections and related illnesses than people working in other occupations. “There is evidence that over the past 20 to 25 years health care workers have been

Full Post: Working in health care can be risky, study hints

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who need to take time off from work for a mental health problem may live shorter lives than those in better psychiatric health, a new study suggests. Researchers found that among nearly 20,000 French workers they followed, those who’d taken at least 1 week’s sick leave for a

Full Post: Sick leave for mental illness linked to early death

By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several makers of infant formula sold in the United States defended their products on Wednesday, saying tests had not found the kidney-damaging chemical melamine in their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it had found trace amounts of the industrial chemical in one sample of formula. Although

Full Post: Some U.S. formula makers say products melamine-free

Site Navigation

Most Read