The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added 8 new substances to the 15th Report on Carcinogens, bringing the total list to 256 substances.

The 8 newly reviewed substances include the following:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H pylori)  
  • Antimony trioxide
  • 6 haloacetic acids (HAAs) found as water disinfection byproducts:
    • Bromochloroacetic acid (BCA)
    • Bromodichloroacetic acid (BDCA)
    • Chlorodibromoacetic acid (CDBA)
    • Dibromoacetic acid (DBA)
    • Dichloroacetic acid (DCA)
    • Tribromoacetic acid (TBA)

Based on the new report, chronic infection with the bacterium H pylori may lead to stomach cancer and a rare type of stomach lymphoma. Antimony trioxide is primarily used as a flame retardant in plastics, textiles, and other consumer products. The highest exposure occurs among workers who produce the substance or use it to make flame retardant.

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HAAs are formed during the water disinfection process from byproducts produced during a reaction between chlorine-based disinfection agents and organic matter in the source water. Residents in the United States may potentially be exposed to HAAs in disinfected water. The levels of HAAs can be reduced with improvements in disinfection technology (eg, filtration methods).

“Cancer affects almost everyone’s life, either directly or indirectly,” said Rick Woychik, PhD, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and [National Toxicology Program]. “As the identification of carcinogens is a key step in cancer prevention, publication of the report represents an important government activity towards improving public health.”


Eight substances added to 15th Report on Carcinogens. News release. National Institutes of Health. December 23, 2021. Accessed December 27, 2021. 

This article originally appeared on MPR