June 14, 2011
By Jeffrey Young
The widely used preservative formaldehyde, and styrene, found in food containers and coffee cups, are among eight agents added to a list of known and suspected carcinogens by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Formaldehyde, linked to leukemia and a rare type of nasal cancer, is “known to be a human carcinogen,” according to the congressionally mandated report published today on the health agency’s website. Styrene is categorized by researchers as “reasonably anticipated” to be cancer-causing.
The new compounds bring the total number of substances linked to cancer to 240. Aristolochic acids, found in herbal products used to treat arthritis and gout, were also listed as a known carcinogen because they can cause bladder or urinary-tract cancer in people with kidney disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned consumers against taking supplements containing aristolochic acid in 2001, according to the report.
“A listing in the report does not by itself mean that a substance will cause cancer,” said John Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in a conference call with reporters.
The cancer-causing risk from formaldehyde and styrene comes from the products’ widespread use in industrial applications and less from their presence in consumer products, Bucher said.
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October 8, 2010
Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, recalled 191,000 bottles of Lipitor after receiving three complaints of a musty odor coming from the containers of the cholesterol drug.
The complaints were received in July and originated from the same batch of bottles from a third-party manufacturer, said Rick Chambers, a spokesman for Pfizer. An investigation found that the odor is unlikely to be harmful, he said. The recall’s cost won’t be material, and the company doesn’t plan to take a charge for it, he said.
Pfizer, based in New York, is working with the maker to determine the odor’s cause. Chambers declined to name the manufacturer.