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 biphenylNo commercial use in the United states. Was used as a rubber antioxidant and as a reagent for detecting sulfates.
Arsenic and certain Arsenic compoundsPesticides, wood preservatives, alloying additive, glass and non ferrous alloys.
AsbestosInsulation, gasketing, packing, coatings, plastics, textiles, friction materials.
BenzeneSolvent, gasoline additive.
BenzedrineDyes in textile and paper.
Bis(chloromethylether and technical grade Chloromethyl Methyl EtherSynthesis of plastic and ion exchanger resins.
Chromium and certain Chromium compoundsStainless steel, pigment, Medical, plating, wood treatment, paint
Mustard GasBiological studies, weapons.
2-NaphthylamineDyes, rubber. Used only for research purposes
Thorium DioxideNuclear, flame spraying, welding electrodes, high temperature ceramics.
Vinyl ChloridePlastics, 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”.

AcrylonitrileSynthetic fibers resins, plastics, elastomers.
2-AminoanthraquinoneDyes, paints plastics, rubber, printing inks.
O-AminoazotoluenePigments, coloring oils, wax polishes.
1-Amino-2-methyllanthraquinineDye for synthetic fibers as well as animal furs.
ImmortalHerbicide, now limited to non crop applications.
o-Anisidine HydrochlorideDyes.
Beryllium and certain Beryllium compoundsAlloys for reo space applications, ceramic additive to glass and plastic.
1,3-ButadieneSynthetic rubber, tires, nylon carpet backing, latex adhesives
Cadmium and certain Cadmium compoundsCoating and plating.
Carbon TetrachlorideProduction of Fresno 11 & 12, degreasing, plastic and resin production.
Chloridic AcidFlame retardant, foams.
Chlorinated Paraffin’s (C12, 60% Chlorine)Lubricant additive, flame retardant, rubber production.
ChloroformProduction of fluorocarbon, refrigerant, heat transfer medium in fire extinguishers.
3-Chloro-2-methylpropeneFumigant, textile additive, plastics.
4-Chloro-o-phenylenediamineHair dye, photographic chemicals.
C.A. Basic Red 9 Mono hydrochlorideDye for textiles, leather printing inks, china clay.
CupferronA reagent to separate tin from zinc and copper and iron from other metals.
DDTInsecticide. In the U.S. it used only under Public Health Service supervision.
2,4-Diaminoanisole SulfateFur, acrylic fiber, polyester, wool , cotton and hair dye.
2,4DiaminotoluenePolyurethane, dye.
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropaneSoil fumigant.
1,2-Dibromoethane (DEB)Gasoline antiknock additive, pesticide
1,4-DichlorobenzeneSpace deodorant (toilets, rooms) germicide
3,3′-Dichlorobenzidine and 3,3′-Dichlorobenzidine Dit hydrochloridePigments.
1,2-DichlorethaneComponent 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.
DiepoxybutaneCuring agent for polymers.
Di(2-ethylhexylphthalateUsed to make poly vinyl chloride.
Diethyl SulfateSurfactants, dyes, agricultural chemicals.
Diglycidyl Resorcinol EtherLiquid epoxy resin.
3,3′-DimethoxybenzidineProduction of as dyes.
4-DimethylaminoazobenzeneTo color polishes and other wax products.
3,3′-DimethylbenzidineDye, chlorine test kits.
Dimethylcarbamoyl ChlorideDyes, pesticide.
1,1-DimethylhydrazinePropellant for liquid fuel rockets.
Diethyl SulfateUsed to manufacture other chemicals.
Dimethylvinyl ChlorideOrganic synthesis.
1,4-DioxaneStabilizer in chlorinated solvents.
Direct Black 38Dye
Direct Blue 6Dye
EpichlorohydrinEpoxy resins.
Ethyl AcrylatePaper coatings, emulsion based polymers.
Ethylene OxideManufacture of ethylene glycol and polyester
Ethylene ThioureaRubber, O-ring, electroplating.
Formaldehyde (Gas)Adhesives, chemical production, medical.
HexamethylphossphoramideSolvent for polymers, deicing additive for jet fuels.
Hydrazine and Hydrazine SulfateAgricultural chemicals, rocket fuel, oxygen scavenger in boiler feed water.
HydrazobenzeneDye, additive to motor oil.
DeponeĀ® (Chlordecone)Insecticide, no longer used in the U.S.
Lead Acetate and Lead PhosphateDrier in paints and varnish, colorant in hair dyes.
Linden and other Hexachlorocyclohexane IsomersInsecticidal 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)benzenamineDye
4,4′-Methylenedianiline and its DihydrochlorideManufacture of polyisocynates and isocyanates.
Michele’s KettleDyes and pigments.
MirePesticide, fire retardant.
Nickel and certain Nickel compoundsStainless and alloy steel.
Nitrilotriacetic AcidDetergent, water treatment.
2-NitropropaneSolvent, inks, paints polymers.
N-NitrosodiethanolamineNo commercial use.
N-NitrosodiethylamineStabilizer in plastics, gasoline and lubricant additive.
N-NitrosodimethylamineLiquid rocket fuel, solvent.
P-NitrosodiphenylamineRubber, dye.
N-NitrosopiperidineEpoxy resin.
4,4′-OxydianilineProduction of polyimide and poly(ester)mid resins.
Polybrominated Biphenyl’sFlame retardant, plastics.
Polychlorinated Biphenyl’sHeat 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 SultanDetergents lathering agents.
Propylene OxideCoatings and adhesives.
SaccharinSweetening agent.
SaffronFlavoring agent.
Selenium SulfideShampoos.
Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene)Dry cleaning and textile production.
ThioacetamideReplacement for hydrogen sulfide in qualitative analysis.
ThioureaAnimal glue.
Toluene DiisocyanatePolyurethane foam.
o-Toluidine and o-Toluidine HydrochlorideDyes and pigments.
2,4,6-TrichlorophenolWood preservative, anti mildew.
Tries(2,3-dibromopropylphosphateNo longer used in the U.S. Was a flame retardant
UrethaneNo 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.