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  • Could living in a cancer cluster raise my insurance rates?
  • February 22, 2013

    Arsenic: Exposure to arsenic is linked to an assortment of cancers, including skin, lung, digestive tract, liver, bladder and kidney. This carcinogen can appear in our food and drinking water. Seafood, rice, rice cereal, mushrooms and poultry contain the highest levels of arsenic.

    Drinking water can be contaminated with pesticides that contain arsenic. This can come from natural mineral deposits of inorganic arsenic or from chemical plants that haven’t properly disposed of the compound.

    Arsenic is used to pigment paint and can be contracted through the hands, fingernails, cups, cigarette smoking or by holding paintbrushes in the mouth.


    Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma.  It has been detected in air, soil, drinking water, food, medicines and vehicle break linings.

    Silica, crystalline: Linked to lung cancer, silica is a common air contaminant. People who live near sand and gravel operations are at the most risk. People are also exposed to silica via abrasives, sand paper, detergent, cement and grouts.


    Beryllium: Linked to lung cancer, beryllium can be contracted by inhaling dust or fumes or ingested with water and food. It is also found in fruit and fruit juices, primarily pineapple and papaya juice.

    Certain occupations can expose you to this carcinogen: alloy makers, ceramics workers, missile technicians, nuclear reactor workers, electronic-equipment workers and jewelers.

    Cadmium: Linked to lung and prostate cancer, cadmium can be found in grain cereal, potatoes and vegetables. Exposure also occurs through drinking water or ambient air.

    Nickel: Yes, the metallic 5-cent coin is a human carcinogenic. Exposure can result in an elevated risk of lung cancer and cause epithelial and connective-tissue tumors. It can also bind ionically to cells, including DNA.

    Nickel is found in the air, water, food and consumer products. The general population is also exposed to nickel through nickel alloys and nickel-plated materials such as coins, steel and jewelry. It is also found in soaps, fats and oils.

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