20 Every Day Things That Increase Your Cancer Risk

We always say and believe that “prevention is better than cure”, but to prevent a disease we must know what causes it. “Cancer” is actually spreading across the nation, independent of age, race, social status and lifestyle. Based on various studies about cancer in India, it suggests that approximately 39.6% of men and women will get diagnosed with cancer. The % of deaths by cancer is more in developed countries and as India is competing to be a fast-growing nation it is also catching up with the disease like cancer.

Let’s make a list of things that can cause cancer, one we start exploring these you will get to know many surprising household products that cause cancer. The products below are have reached this list based upon various scientific studies.

  1. Candles:

How common and harmless they sound, can you even imaging that it will be part of a list of things that can give you cancer, but that’s true.

Candles when burnt produce combustion by-products like soot, hence avoid artificially scented paraffin candles. Technically speaking burning paraffin wax when burns it produces carcinogens such as ketones, toluene and other fossil fuel components which get accumulated inside the house.

Occasional candlelight dinners are good to go but burning them in closed places like the bathroom is not advisable.


  1. Toothpaste:

Brushing your teeth twice a day in an integral part of our daily routine. Every brand is advertising their products with all the might but no one is telling us about the harmful chemical it contains. Triclosan which is banned by FDA in soaps is still present in out toothpaste. When it gets in contact with chlorinated water it forms chloroform, which we all know is harmful.

After a lot of public outcry, many companies are reworking on the formula excluding Triclosan

We all know that toothpaste contains fluoride and it protects our teeth against cavity, but if used in the high amount it can lead to degenerative conditions in bones and teeth.


  1. Microwaves:

Food should never be heated or cooked in plastic containers in the microwave, we all have heard this but how many are following? Please make sure you don’t use plastic containers who has a recycling code no 3 or 7.

You May also like: 13 Cancer Causing Foods in Your Diet

  1. Diet Soda:

Sodas were never considered Good not for kids not for elders. Most of them contain high levels of 4-methylimidazole, an animal carcinogen. Aspartame the sweetener in diet soda’s was researched and linked to blood as well as brain cancer

Diet Soda

  1. Canned food:

Canned food contains a controversial chemical know as BPA, there is no safe dose of BPA, no matter how low level is used it will be harmful to the human body

BPA is bisphenol-A, it’s a man-made industrial chemical widely used to make hard, clear plastic. Like storage containers, water, and milk bottles as well as plastic tableware and cutlery. It can lead to many types of cancer like breast, prostate, and heart.

Canned food

  1. Sunscreen:

We know people who swear by sunscreens before stepping out of the house in hot weather but are these sunscreens really saving us from the sun or are increasing a graver problem in our skin and bodies.

Oxybenzone it’s a major ingredient in a sunscreen it absorbs ultraviolet light and at the same time causes hormone disruption and cell damage, which could promote cancer.

Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate) actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer and skin tumors,

Fragrances like parabens, phthalates, and synthetic musks are considered as harmful hormone disrupters.


  1. Car fumes

It’s a very well-known fact that, diesel exhaust fumes can cause lung cancer, this has been accepted by an expert panel of WHO

Diesel fumes have 2 main ingredients gases and soot, the gases that it contains are as harmful as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitric oxides, hydrocarbons etc. and the soot is nothing but carbon particles, traces of metallic compound and organic material.

This is one of the unavoidable things as we see diesel cars and vehicles everywhere on the road. It can not only lead to lung cancer but can also be the reason of Larynx, esophagus, bladder, pancreas and stomach cancer as well.

Car fumes

  1. Air fresheners

It is just like the wolf in a sheep’s’ skin, Air fresheners in any form like sprays, plug-ins, gels etc. produce industrial chemicals just as benzene, formaldehyde, styrene and phthalates which can transform the structure of our DNA. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Though air freshener manufacturers claim that there products are safe but we have to believe the studies for our and our families’ protection from these common household products.

Sprayed air freshener

  1. Smokeless Tobacco

Tobacco and cancer go hand in hand, some people have this misconception that smokeless tobaccos are safer in comparison to smoking tobacco. These products are addictive and can cause oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

They contain nitrosamines, polonium, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.

Smokeless Tobacco

  1. Pest control and pesticides

Most of the pest control products and pesticides are full of carcinogenic chemicals, organochlorines, creosote, and sulfallate, lindane is promoters of the tumor. These products are even indirectly used in getting rid of ticks, fleas and lice.

Fruits and vegetables also have pesticide residue and hence they must be washed multiple times before consumption.

pest control pesticides

  1. Art supplies

Most of the common art supplies like Acrylic paints, solvents, VOC (volatile organic compounds), permanent markers etc markers often contain carcinogens. Inhaling these solvents or paints for a longer time duration can lead to lungs cancer.

Once the pain fumes or the solvents are absorbed into the lungs, then the bloodstream, they can lead to headaches and dizziness.

  1. Dry cleaning

Who doesn’t prefer wearing crisp and clean dry cleaned clothes? But we hardly know that the chemicals that are used in dry cleaning clothes are harmful to us, perchlorethylene that is used for dry cleaning is considered as a toxic air pollutant. Regular exposure can lead to cancer, and some more effects like headaches, dizziness and getting unconscious.

Instead of that we can opt for wet cleaning or dry cleaning using liquid CO2 or citrus juice

  1. Birth control

Birth Control pills are considered as a regular contraceptive method and used generically without understanding its harmful side effect. These pills increase the risk of Breast, cervix as well as liver cancer.

Women bodies are designed to have kids and breastfeed for at least a year, it helps proper growth in breast tissues and further decreases the risk of breast cancer.

  1. Hot tea

There are many people whose morning doesn’t start without a piping hot mug of their favorite tea, we all have heard of various health benefits of tea like it has a lot of antioxidants since childhood, so it’s so difficult to believe it that is figuring in this list. Sorry to break your dreams but this is true.

Drinking it piping hot may give you cancer of the esophagus.

Most of the cases of Esophagus cancer are found in Asian and Middle Eastern countries which are very fond of their hot teas. This type of cancer is found in traditional communities where women in general don’t drink and smoke- hence the research focus shifted to drinking tea. Let the tea cool down a little, as piping hot tea damages the esophagus lining which can be the risk factor.

  1. Burnt food

We see the rise in the sell of tandoors and griller’s, as people love that smoky smell in there paneer, fish, chicken etc. The slightly burnt and blackened areas of the grilled food are visually appealing but they increase the risk of not just one but three different types of cancer viz. Stomach, colon and pancreatic cancers.

The main block that make up protein is Amino Acids when the protein foods are burnt these amino acids get converted into heterocyclic amines (HCA). Most of them are highly carcinogenic because they cause damage to our DNAs and induce mutations.

While we grill these fat rich foods, the fat gets burnt and the smoke that it produces is absorbed by the food, at the same time it induces a good dose of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons inside the food making it carcinogenic, and converting healthy food into unhealthy food.

  1. Cosmetics

Every lady you know must be using one or the other cosmetic brand, some use it in less quantity and some swear by their make-up. We don’t have strict regulation for cosmetics though they are under the regulatory body such as FDA. As it is something we don’t consume hence the effects such as reactions and skin infections are considered as temporary.

It is also considered that, once you clean the cosmetics or simply washing face can take away all the affects, but that isn’t true these cosmetics are not just absorbed in the body but also stored in the body and the traces of these chemicals like benzophenone-3 in urine several days after use.

Hair dyes also pose a risk of cancer, but most of the cosmetic and fragrance manufacturers hide the chemical compositions from the customers. These products contain many carcinogenic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and 1,4-dioxane.


  1. Granite

Who doesn’t love the smooth and glossy finish of the granite, most of the flooring and wall cladding is done by granite only. They are easy to clean if polished well. Hats why they have even reached our kitchens.

But what we don’t know that this beautiful and clean looking stone actually emits Radon which is nothing but a radioactive Gas which can increase the risk of cancer. Radon is a decay product of radium which gets formed when uranium and thorium in bedrocks starts to decay.

The Radon gas has higher density and its odourless and colorless, hence our eyes and nose cannot detect it and we keep inhaling it. Providing more open space and ventilation can only reduce the risk.

  1. Microwave Popcorn

Making popcorn in microwave is very fast and convenient rather than making it in a pressure cooker on gas stove. But what if you come to know that this convenience costs you your health, it can put you at risk of cancer.

Microwave popcorn bags have a wax coating, when heated they produce a carcinogenic compound called perfluorooctanoic acid, which leads to prostate and liver cancer.

The risk of making microwave popcorn was pointed out long back in 1993, but because of mere convenience in our busy lifestyle we are still making it all in a working way.

  1. Alcoholic beverages

We see many research and people advocating the goodness of “moderate” consumption of alcohol being good for cardiovascular health, but actually, it increases the cancer risk.

They can vary from esophagus, colon, rectum to breast cancer.

Alcohol increases the production of stomach acids that damage the inner layer of the intestine, people suffering from ulcer have an aggravated problem. The main component of any alcoholic beverage is Ethanol, it gets converted into Acetaldehyde which actually damages the DNA and triggers cancer. It also harmfully affects the liver by increasing production on estrogen and accelerates growth of liver.

  1. Fragrances

No matter how much is your urge to smell good all the time or want your house to smell wonderful, we would like you to hold on. Understand what harmful effects these sweet smells have on your health.

Most of these fragrances mask the bad odour and affect your nose that it stops detecting the bad smell and only recognize the stronger smell of fragrances.

Most of these fragrances include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer. It is very crucial to avoid synthetic scents.These chemicals are not just hormone disruptors but also effect the respiratory and nervous system.

Perfumes And Fragrances

Look at some of the common chemicals found in air fresheners:

Acetaldehyde – This chemical with a deceptively innocuous fruity odor is a known          carcinogenic

Benzaldehyde – Classified by United States Environmental Protection Agency as a hazardous substance, this chemical smells of almond oil.

1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol – A strong-smelling chemical known to cause kidney and liver cancers.

1,4-Dichlorobenzene – Another carcinogen with a strong smell that can mask other odors by numbing our sensory receptors.

Methyl pyrrolidone – featured on the list of Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity according to the California Proposition 65.

As now you are aware of all the hidden dangers, no matter if the government regulatory bodies put any control on them but we must be aware about safety of yourself and your family.

Most of these problems are related to lifestyle, the simpler you live the safer you are. As the modern technology is bringing inconvenience but is it actually helping us or robbing off our health, is a point to ponder upon.


Ujjwal Mishra

Ujjwal Mishra is a story teller, she likes to weave stories and characters with her writing. She is a full time working professional and a mom of 2 kids. Passionate in writing about kids, moms in modern times and there well beings. Follows a Healthy lifestyle and believes in chasing fitness goals. Engineer by education currently working into Human Resource field.

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Ujjwal Mishra is a story teller, she likes to weave stories and characters with her writing. She is a full time working professional and a mom of 2 kids. Passionate in writing about kids, moms in modern times and there well beings. Follows a Healthy lifestyle and believes in chasing fitness goals. Engineer by education currently working into Human Resource field.
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