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Occupational exposure occurs when a person is exposed to potentially harmful chemical, physical or biological substances at work. People who work with cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) on the job may be exposed to much higher levels of these substances than they would be at home or in their community. Since higher exposure can lead to greater cancer risk, eliminating or reducing exposure is important in the primary prevention of cancer.
Current scientific evidence suggests that being exposed to cancer-causing substances on the job is responsible for a small percentage of cancers. But for those workers, their exposure and risk of cancer is much higher than the average person’s.