Cancer Risks are all around us

It seems as though cancer risks are all around us these days, and sometimes from the most unexpected places. Who would have thought for instance that a suitcase could be dangerous for your health? A recent article explains that some of the chemicals found in the handles of a type of suitcase were known to be carcinogenic.

The article says that “Samsonite International SA is recalling 250,000 “Tokyo Chic” suitcases worldwide to replace handles on the bags after a Hong Kong consumer group found high levels of compounds linked to cancer.

The luggage maker said Tuesday that independent tests showed the suitcases posed no health hazard and it was carrying out the recall to allay consumer concerns.”

“Samsonite pulled the line from Hong Kong stores on Monday to replace the side handles after the city’s Consumer Council reported that a sample it tested had levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that were higher than recommended in voluntary guidelines.

The compounds are commonly found in plastics, rubber and lubricating oil and it’s possible that traces were left during manufacturing, the council said.

They’ve been known to cause cancer and birth defects in animals. The council’s tests gave readings for the compounds that were off the charts at 17,960 milligrams per kilogram.

But Samsonite commissioned independent tests from German and Hong Kong laboratories that showed levels were “significantly lower” than the council’s findings.”

Whatever the actual figures were for the amounts of these potentially dangerous chemicals it is worrying because exposure to dangerous chemicals could have a cumulative effect in our bodies, pushing our ability to tolerate toxins to the point where a  cancer is triggered.

This is certainly not the only case where chemicals used in manufactured goods have been accused of being potentially harmful.

There have been concerns about cleaning products and air-fresheners for the home, cosmetics and toothpastes, and just recently a report indicted the use of a complicated chemical called n-butyl benzyl phthalate that is commonly used in vinyl flooring, and faux or artificial leather.

Dangerous chemicals from such products may be slowly released into the air and there is apparently little we can do about it, unless we were to avoid such products altogether. Cancer risks are all around us and it is important at least to be aware of this and take what precautions we can.



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