Potential Occupational Carcinogen


Definition - What does Potential Occupational Carcinogen mean?

A potential occupational carcinogen is a substance to which workplace exposure can cause an increased chance for the development of cancer. This category includes not only substances that have been demonstrated to contribute to the development of cancer in human beings, but also those that are suspected of being a contributing factor.

A single substance, or its metabolite, may be considered a potential occupational carcinogen. A set of substances those pose a risk when combined may also be identified as a potential occupational carcinogen.

Some occupations place workers at a higher risk of being exposed to potential carcinogens. These occupations often include job tasks that require workers to be exposed to exhaust fumes, smoke, chemicals, or radiation. Several worldwide and national organizations study and identify known and potential carcinogens. These lists of potential hazards are used to create guides for the prevention of exposure to hazards in the workplace.

WorkplaceTesting explains Potential Occupational Carcinogen

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) defines potential carcinogens as those substances or combinations associated with an increased risk for the development of benign or malignant neoplasms. Neoplasms are tissue growths that are caused by a rapid and abnormal division of cells. Benign neoplasms are those which are non-cancerous. Tissue growths may also be pre-malignant or malignant, meaning that they may develop into cancer or are already cancerous.

Also included in this category are any substances or mixtures of substances to which exposure decrease the latency or delay in the development of neoplasms or tumors. In other words, an agent which accelerates the natural rate of development of cancer may be considered a potential occupational carcinogen. In the workplace, it can be this combination of various potential carcinogens that contributes to an individual's development of cancer. For example exposure to radiation early in life has been associated with an increased risk of different cancers developing later.

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