Posts Tagged ‘group A carcinogen’

Praise the Lord and Pass the Gas Mask

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Secondhand Smoke for Second Class Employees?

Everybody has the right to breathe smoke-free air, no matter where they work.  Current Oklahoma law has created a group of second class employees.  It has also created an uneven playing field for business owners who want to do the right thing, but have their hands tied.  Caught in the middle are employees across the state – bartenders, hostesses, cocktail waitresses, musicians and others who have to choose between their health and a paycheck. 

Secondhand smoke is not a nuisance – it is a real health hazard.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen, a substance which is known to cause human cancer.

Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 substances, more than 60 of which are known or suspected to cause cancer.  Some of the deadly substances in secondhand smoke and the cancers they cause are:

  • Arsenic, benzo(a)pyrene, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and NNK = lung cancer
  • Nitrosamines = cancers of the lung, respiratory system, and other organs
  • Armoatic amines = bladder and breast cancers
  • Formaldehyde and nickel = nasal cancer
  • Benzene = leukemia
  • Vinyl chloride = liver and brain cancer
  • 2-napthalymine and 4-aminobiphenyl = bladder cancer
  • Lead = liver cancer

Three of the above carcinogens — arsenic, benzene, and vinyl chloride — are regulated in the United States as hazardous air pollutants.  Two of the bladder carcinogens — 2-napthalymine and 4-aminobiphenyl are banned for use in dye manufacturing. 

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