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  • Could living in a cancer cluster raise my insurance rates?
  • February 22, 2013
  • 2. MOLD and FUNGAL TOXINS

    Aflatoxin: We come into contact with aflatoxin, which is known to cause liver cancer, primarily through eating contaminated food. This carcinogen produces a fungus that thrives on corn, grains, peanuts, tree nuts and cottonseed meal. Cottonseed meal is often fed to farm animals.

    3. DIOXINS

    Benzene: Exposure to benzene can put you at risk for leukemia. You can be exposed to it by something as simple as driving in congested traffic — or pumping gas. The Texas Transportation Institute reported that Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta were cities with the highest amount of traffic congestion in 2007.

    “People are at risk for exposure to benzene when waiting in traffic,” says Vivi Abrams, spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health. “As far as what levels they are exposed to, that’s something that more research needs to be done about. The seriousness would depend on the amount, the root cause, the length of the exposure in the air, the levels in the air at that time and the person’s pre-existing health conditions.”

    Manufacturing facilities also expose you to benzene and traces of this carcinogen are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, eggs and fish. But the most common exposure to benzene is through cigarette smoke, says Abrams.

    In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration analyzed more than 100 soft drinks to determine the level of benzene found in those products, they learned that eight of the beverages tested contained levels of benzene that exceeded the federal standard for tap and bottled water of five parts per billion (ppb). Some of the soft drinks that were found to have the highest benzene count included Safeway Select Diet Orange, Crush Pineapple, AquaCal Strawberry flavored water, and Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange. The FDA asked manufactures with the highest levels to reformulate its products in order to reduce the benzene count.

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