Estrogens classified as carcinogens

Sex hormones of the class known as steroidal estrogens, which are in hormone-replacement therapies and birth control pills, are among the latest compounds that a government panel of U.S. scientists has recognized as cancer agents in people.

The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., periodically reviews cancer-research literature and updates its list of known or suspected human carcinogens, which now number 228. Some steroidal estrogens had previously been listed as probable carcinogens, but on Dec. 11, 2002, the panel deemed all hormones in this class known carcinogens.

The new report also upgraded the metal beryllium and its compounds from probable to known carcinogens and added 15 previously unlisted chemicals and other risks, including wood dust and broad-spectrum ultraviolet light, to one category or the other.


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