The infection caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria is now considered a carcinogen in a report from the United States Congress.

Reconstruction of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

United States has added eight substances to the Report on Carcinogens, bringing the total list to 256 Substances known or reasonably expected to cause cancer in humans.

This is the 15th Report on Carcinogens, a cumulative report commissioned by Congress and prepared by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) for the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which started the country’s war against cancer.

In the new report, chronic infection by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is listed as a known human carcinogen. Antimony trioxide, flame retardant chemical, and six haloacetic acids (HAA) found in the by-products of water disinfection, are on the list of reasonably anticipated human carcinogens.

“Cancer affects almost everyone’s life, either directly or indirectly,” recalls Dr. Rick Woychik, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and NTP. Given the identification of carcinogens is a key step in cancer prevention, the publication of the report represents an important government activity to improve public health ”.

Chronic infections

The Carcinogens Report identifies many different environmental factors, collectively called substances, including chemicals; infectious agents, such as viruses; physical agents, such as X-rays and ultraviolet radiation; and exposure scenarios. Substances are listed as known human carcinogens or as reasonably anticipated human carcinogens, to indicate the potential hazard.

The report does not include estimates of cancer risk because There are many factors that affect whether or not a person will develop cancer. These include the carcinogenic potency of the substance, the level and duration of exposure, and the susceptibility of the individual to the carcinogenic action of the substance.

With respect to H. pyloriRemember that it is a bacterium that colonizes the stomach and can cause gastritis and peptic ulcers. Most people show no symptoms. Chronic infection can lead to stomach cancer and a rare type of stomach lymphoma. Infection occurs primarily through person-to-person contact, especially in crowded conditions, and can occur from drinking well water contaminated with H. pylori.

People living in poverty and certain racial, ethnic, and immigrant groups are disproportionately affected by infection with H. pylori. Treating infected people who have stomach ulcers or signs of stomach infection can lower their risk of cancer.

Other carcinogens

Regarding the antimony trioxide, It is mainly used as a component of flame retardants in plastics, textiles and other consumer products. The greatest exposure occurs among workers who produce the substance or use it to make flame retardants.

Other people are potentially exposed to low levels of antimony trioxide by breathing contaminated outdoor air or dust from the wear and tear of consumer products treated with flame retardants, such as carpets and furniture. US state and federal agencies limit exposure to this substance in the workplace and in the environment through regulation.

The six haloacetic acids (HAA) found as by-products of water disinfection are formed during water disinfection from a reaction between the chlorine-based disinfection agents and organic matter from source water.

In the United States, 250 million residents use community water systems and are potentially exposed to HAAs in disinfected water. Municipal water systems track some HAAs. Improvements in disinfection technology, such as filtration methods, can reduce HAA levels in drinking water.

The six HAAs incorporated into the report are bromochloroacetic acid (BCA), bromodichloroacetic acid (BDCA), chlorodibromoacetic acid (CDBA), dibromoacetic acid (DBA), dichloroacetic acid (DCA) and tribromoacetic acid (TBA).