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  • Could living in a cancer cluster raise my insurance rates?
  • February 22, 2013
  • deadly environment insuranceBy Michelle Matlock

    Medical studies bombard us with information about the risks associated with cancer. It would seem that very little can be done to escape this deadly killer. Cancer-causing carcinogens can be found in our homes and where we work— even at the doctor’s office. They naturally occur outside and can be found in the air that we breathe and the water that we drink. While several factors play into the risk of developing cancer, our environment is key.

    Cancer is the growth and mutation of abnormal cells in the body; the result of carcinogenesis, or toxins, that attach to DNA and develop into tumors.

    This year, nearly 562,340 Americans will die from cancer. It’s the second most common cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths, according to latest statistics by the American Cancer Society.

    The National Toxicology Program, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, published a list of environmental carcinogens that have been implicated as causes of cancer. You may find a few surprising.

    1. ETHANOL and PLANTS

    Alcohol: This one may be a no-brainer, but heavy consumption of alcohol is related to cancers in the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus — in addition to liver and breast cancer. Known contaminates that are absorbed during the production of alcoholic beverages include acetaldehyde, nitrosamines, aflatoxins, urethane, asbestos and arsenic compounds.

    Tobacco: Tobacco tops all categories of the single most lethal carcinogen worldwide. Chronic tobacco use can be responsible for cancers in the lungs, larynx, mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidney, throat, stomach, pancreas and cervix. There’s also an increased risk of developing leukemia. Cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco contain 60 compounds that are carcinogenic to humans, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. People who breathe second-hand smoke can be affected as well.

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