Cancer is one of the greatest killers in the world today, and the World Health Organisation has pegged the number of new cases annually at over 14 million.
It has been found that a substance, MBT, which is used in the manufacturing of rubber, has the possibility of causing cancer.
The substance, a chemical, is used in the manufacturing of rubber products like car tyres, baby soothers, condoms, elastic bands, gloves, rubber insoles for shoes, and even swimming caps and goggles.
While the substance has long been linked with skin allergies, 24 medical experts who met in France recently said they have sufficient evidence to add the chemical to its ‘encyclopaedia of carcinogens’, meaning it ‘probably causes cancer’.
The ranking places it in the category of cancer-causing agents like red meat, and just below first-hand smoking.
MBT is short for 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, which a WHO-funded research at a chemical factory in Wales linked to bladder cancer, bowel cancer and a type of blood cancer.
However, it must be noted that the research was conducted on factory workers who were exposed to the substance in large quantity, as well as other chemicals. This made it difficult to determine if MBT was to blame.
Meanwhile, other research has identified the chemical as the cause of cancer in other animals – making the WHO to rule it cause pose a serious risk to people.
A spokesman for the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer said: “MBT is used mainly in manufacturing rubber products. The most important exposures are to workers in the chemical and rubber industries.
“The general public may be exposed to small amounts of MBT by skin contact with some rubber goods, such as gloves and footwear, or by inhaling tyre dust in urban air. Risks to the public at large from these types of exposures have not been studied.”
Experts are however divided on whether MBT in small doses that can be found in the rubber products we use pose any serious cancer risk to us.
From: The Herald