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Archive for the ‘Crude Health Hazards’ Category


Benzo[a]pyrene – Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber

Benzo[a]pyrene causes cancer in a simple, direct way. Nearly all living things have in common a group of cellular enzymes responsible for detoxifying and metabolizing possibly harmful chemical invaders. When this enzyme group encounters benzo[a]pyrene, it inserts oxygen into the foreign molecule, the first step toward breaking it down. However, in a strange twist of fate, this addition activates benzo[a]pyrene rather than detoxifies it. The altered molecule now has the ability to bond tightly to a strand of DNA — that is, to one of the cell’s chromosomes along which lie the organism’s genes. A chemical invader so attached is called a DNA adduct, and it has the power to alter the structure of the DNA strand and cause a genetic mutation. If uncorrected, this type of damage can become a crucial step leading to the formation of cancer. Page 136

Benzo(a)pyrene (a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon reproductive [see below], formed when oil or gasoline burns) – Irritation to eyes and skin, cancer, possible effects.

– Taken from the Training Marine Oil Spill Response Workers under OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard

Coal tar itself is classified as a known carcinogen, but because humans are almost always exposed to its constituent ingredients in mixtures, the data from human studies are inadequate to so classify benzo[a]pyrene individually.


Chemical Profile for Coal Tar from Scorecard

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April 14, 1958 – Esso – Toxigram Regarding Benzene Toxicity from PBS Program “Trade Secrets” – Ross Archive

Benzene – “Most authorities agree the only level which can be considered absolutely safe for prolonged exposure is zero.”

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