In the United States, cancer is the second most common cause of death.

Section 262 of Public law 95-622 of November 9,1978 stipulated that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human services shall publish an annual report which contains a list of all substances which either are known to be carcinogens or may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogens and to which a significant number of persons in the United States are exposed.

The first comprehensive list was published in the 1989 summary. I have extrapolated those chemicals that we encounter in the petrochemical industry and left out those that are pretty much limited to the medical profession. If you are interested in allowable exposure limits or have any other questions about the noted chemicals contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Fifth Annual Report On Carcinogens Summary 1989 NTO 89-239 or any newer reports that may have been published.

Known carcinogens are defined as “those substances for which the evidence from human studies indicates that there is a casual relationship between the exposure to the substance and human cancer.” The list includes, but is not limited to :

4-Amino biphenyl No commercial use in the United states. Was used as a rubber antioxidant and as a reagent for detecting sulfates.
Arsenic and certain Arsenic compounds Pesticides, wood preservatives, alloying additive, glass and non ferrous alloys.
Asbestos Insulation, gasketing, packing, coatings, plastics, textiles, friction materials.
Benzene Solvent, gasoline additive.
Benzedrine Dyes in textile and paper.
Bis(chloromethylether and technical grade Chloromethyl Methyl Ether Synthesis of plastic and ion exchanger resins.
Chromium and certain Chromium compounds Stainless steel, pigment, Medical, plating, wood treatment, paint
Mustard Gas Biological studies, weapons.
2-Naphthylamine Dyes, rubber. Used only for research purposes
Thorium Dioxide Nuclear, flame spraying, welding electrodes, high temperature ceramics.
Vinyl Chloride Plastics, wrapping film, phonograph records, credit cards floor tiles.

Substances which may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogens. Defined as “those for which there is a limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans or sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals”.

Acrylonitrile Synthetic fibers resins, plastics, elastomers.
2-Aminoanthraquinone Dyes, paints plastics, rubber, printing inks.
O-Aminoazotoluene Pigments, coloring oils, wax polishes.
1-Amino-2-methyllanthraquinine Dye for synthetic fibers as well as animal furs.
Immortal Herbicide, now limited to non crop applications.
o-Anisidine Hydrochloride Dyes.
Beryllium and certain Beryllium compounds Alloys for reo space applications, ceramic additive to glass and plastic.
1,3-Butadiene Synthetic rubber, tires, nylon carpet backing, latex adhesives
Cadmium and certain Cadmium compounds Coating and plating.
Carbon Tetrachloride Production of Fresno 11 & 12, degreasing, plastic and resin production.
Chloridic Acid Flame retardant, foams.
Chlorinated Paraffin’s (C12, 60% Chlorine) Lubricant additive, flame retardant, rubber production.
Chloroform Production of fluorocarbon, refrigerant, heat transfer medium in fire extinguishers.
3-Chloro-2-methylpropene Fumigant, textile additive, plastics.
4-Chloro-o-phenylenediamine Hair dye, photographic chemicals.
C.A. Basic Red 9 Mono hydrochloride Dye for textiles, leather printing inks, china clay.
P-Cresidine Dyes.
Cupferron A reagent to separate tin from zinc and copper and iron from other metals.
DDT Insecticide. In the U.S. it used only under Public Health Service supervision.
2,4-Diaminoanisole Sulfate Fur, acrylic fiber, polyester, wool , cotton and hair dye.
2,4Diaminotoluene Polyurethane, dye.
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane Soil fumigant.
1,2-Dibromoethane (DEB) Gasoline antiknock additive, pesticide
1,4-Dichlorobenzene Space deodorant (toilets, rooms) germicide
3,3′-Dichlorobenzidine and 3,3′-Dichlorobenzidine Dit hydrochloride Pigments.
1,2-Dichlorethane Component of leaded fuel, production of vinyl chloride.
Dichloromethane (Ethylene Chloride) Solvent in paint removers, manufacture of vitamins, degreasing agent.
1,3-Dichloropropene (Technical Grade) Pesticides.
Diepoxybutane Curing agent for polymers.
Di(2-ethylhexylphthalate Used to make poly vinyl chloride.
Diethyl Sulfate Surfactants, dyes, agricultural chemicals.
Diglycidyl Resorcinol Ether Liquid epoxy resin.
3,3′-Dimethoxybenzidine Production of as dyes.
4-Dimethylaminoazobenzene To color polishes and other wax products.
3,3′-Dimethylbenzidine Dye, chlorine test kits.
Dimethylcarbamoyl Chloride Dyes, pesticide.
1,1-Dimethylhydrazine Propellant for liquid fuel rockets.
Diethyl Sulfate Used to manufacture other chemicals.
Dimethylvinyl Chloride Organic synthesis.
1,4-Dioxane Stabilizer in chlorinated solvents.
Direct Black 38 Dye
Direct Blue 6 Dye
Epichlorohydrin Epoxy resins.
Ethyl Acrylate Paper coatings, emulsion based polymers.
Ethylene Oxide Manufacture of ethylene glycol and polyester
Ethylene Thiourea Rubber, O-ring, electroplating.
Formaldehyde (Gas) Adhesives, chemical production, medical.
Hexachlorobenzene Pesticide
Hexamethylphossphoramide Solvent for polymers, deicing additive for jet fuels.
Hydrazine and Hydrazine Sulfate Agricultural chemicals, rocket fuel, oxygen scavenger in boiler feed water.
Hydrazobenzene Dye, additive to motor oil.
DeponeĀ® (Chlordecone) Insecticide, no longer used in the U.S.
Lead Acetate and Lead Phosphate Drier in paints and varnish, colorant in hair dyes.
Linden and other Hexachlorocyclohexane Isomers Insecticidal treatment for wood, grain and live stock.
2-Methylaziridine (Proplyleneimine) Paper, textile, rubber.
4,4′-Methylenebis(2-chloroaniline) (BMOC) Curing agent.
4,4′-Methylenebis(N,N-di methyl)benzenamine Dye
4,4′-Methylenedianiline and its Dihydrochloride Manufacture of polyisocynates and isocyanates.
Michele’s Kettle Dyes and pigments.
Mire Pesticide, fire retardant.
Nickel and certain Nickel compounds Stainless and alloy steel.
Nitrilotriacetic Acid Detergent, water treatment.
5-Nitro-o-Anisidine Dye
2-Nitropropane Solvent, inks, paints polymers.
N-Nitrosodiethanolamine No commercial use.
N-Nitrosodiethylamine Stabilizer in plastics, gasoline and lubricant additive.
N-Nitrosodimethylamine Liquid rocket fuel, solvent.
P-Nitrosodiphenylamine Rubber, dye.
N-Nitrosopiperidine Epoxy resin.
4,4′-Oxydianiline Production of polyimide and poly(ester)mid resins.
Polybrominated Biphenyl’s Flame retardant, plastics.
Polychlorinated Biphenyl’s Heat transfer and hydraulic fluids.
Poly cyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, 15 listings
  • Benz(a)anthracite
  • Benz(b)fluoranthene
  • Benz(j)fluoranthene
  • Benz(k)fluoranthene
  • Benz(a)Pyrenees
  • Dibenz(a,h)actinide
  • Dibenz(a,j)actinide
  • Dibenz(a,h)anthracite
  • 7H-Dibenzo(c,g)crabapple
  • Dibenzo(a,e)Pyrenees
  • Dibenzo(a,h)Pyrenees
  • Dibenzo(a,l)Pyrenees
  • Indian(1,2,3-cdPyrenees
  • 5-Methylchrysene
Coal tar, roofing, creosote, asphalt.
1,3-Propane Sultan Detergents lathering agents.
Propylene Oxide Coatings and adhesives.
Saccharin Sweetening agent.
Saffron Flavoring agent.
Selenium Sulfide Shampoos.
Sulfate Herbicide.
Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene) Dry cleaning and textile production.
Thioacetamide Replacement for hydrogen sulfide in qualitative analysis.
Thiourea Animal glue.
Toluene Diisocyanate Polyurethane foam.
o-Toluidine and o-Toluidine Hydrochloride Dyes and pigments.
Toxaphene Insecticide
2,4,6-Trichlorophenol Wood preservative, anti mildew.
Tries(2,3-dibromopropylphosphate No longer used in the U.S. Was a flame retardant
Urethane No commercial use because of its toxicity.

Occupational exposures associated with a technical process that are known to be carcinogenic

  • Coke oven emissions
  • Sots, tars and mineral oils.



  • On February 15, 2018