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Does your environment put you at risk for cancer?

It’s very hard to say how many cancers are related to substances (chemicals, materials, matter) found in our environment. These substances are known as carcinogens. Most of the research on carcinogens in the environment has been done on groups of people who were around them in their workplaces. These people often have greater exposure to carcinogens than people who are exposed to them at home or in the community.

It’s often hard to be sure how much a person has been exposed to any one substance to know whether it causes cancer. Different people are exposed to different substances for different lengths of time and at different levels. Sometimes people may not know what they’re being exposed to carcinogens. And if a person is around more than one carcinogen, the combination may increase their risk more than each one alone.

What the research does suggest is that you have a higher risk of developing certain cancers if your environment has very high levels of carcinogens.

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