30 Things You Had No Idea Could Cause Cancer

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6. Burning incense

burning incense

According to an oft-cited 2008 study published in the journal Cancer, the smoke created from burning incense could cause cancer, too. In the study of more than 60,000 cancer-free individuals between the ages of 45 and 74, researchers discovered that the long-term use of incense was associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the respiratory tract, a type of lung cancer. So, while the occasional sandalwood incense stick might be nice every once in a while, making a daily habit out of this scented ritual could do your body major harm.

7. Using certain laundry detergent

pouring laundry detergent in a cup

Doing your laundry seems harmless enough, right? Well, not so much. According to the Environmental Working Group, some laundry detergents contain 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that could potentially be cancerous. In past research, animals exposed to the chemical had higher rates of liver tumors than those who weren’t exposed. So be sure to choose your detergent wisely.

8. Going to the dry cleaner

Dry cleaning: Clothes hang on the stand

And it turns out, using a dry cleaner isn’t a safer alternative when it comes to getting your clothes clean. Reports from the EPA have found that perchloroethylene or “perc”—a chemical used by the majority of dry cleaners in the U.S.—could cause leukemia, as well as both liver and kidney cancers. Look for a business that doesn’t use harmful chemicals, or skip out on the dry cleaner altogether.

9. Pumping gas

gas station nozzles

Filling up the car with gas is something most people do on a regular basis. Adding just a little bit more gas in after your nozzle clicks off, however, could be the thing that turns this habit into a cancer-causing one. The EPA notes that the extra fuel could mess with the pump’s vapor recovery system, potentially releasing cancer-causing chemicals like benzene into the air you breathe.

10. Working the night shift

tired doctor or nurse working the night shift, school nurse secrets

Recent reports estimate that as many as three million Americans now work the night shift. And though it might not seem like working when it’s dark out and sleeping when it’s light would do any major bodily harm, a 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal found that the graveyard shift can increase a person’s risk of breast cancer, most likely due to melatonin suppression.

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