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California considers declaring common pain killer carcinogen


aum
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A fight is coming to California over whether to list one of the world’s most common over-the-counter drugs as a carcinogen, echoing recent high-profile battles over things like alcohol and coffee.

 

The drug is acetaminophen, known outside the U.S. as paracetamol and used to treat pain and fevers. It is the basis for more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications for adults and children, found in well-known brands like Tylenol, Excedrin, Sudafed, Robitussin and Theraflu.

 

Acetaminophen has been available in the U.S. without a prescription since 1955. Concerns about its potential link to cancer come from its relationship to another drug: phenacetin. That drug, once a common treatment for headaches and other ailments, was banned by the FDA in 1983 because it caused cancer.

 

State regulators have reviewed 133 studies about acetaminophen, all of which were published in peer-reviewed journals. Some studies reported an increased risk of some types of cancers, while others did not. Overall, the review noted acetaminophen has been difficult to examine because it is hard to isolate it from other variables that could contribute to cancer, such as smoking.

 

A state law known as Proposition 65 says California must warn people of any chemical known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. The state’s list has grown to about 900 chemicals, including toxic pesticides and flame retardants, and is more extensive than any in the U.S. Some critics say California regulators have been overzealous, requiring warning labels for countless products that confuse instead of inform consumers when the risk of cancer is disputed.

 

Supporters of Prop 65 say it protects not only Californians but consumers nationwide by compelling manufacturers to make products safer.

 

Evidence for acetaminophen’s link to cancer has been weak enough that the International Agency for Research on Cancer declined to list it as a possible carcinogen following reviews in 1990 and 1999. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned state officials that labeling acetaminophen as cancer-causing would be “false and misleading” and also illegal under federal law.

 

A panel of scientists appointed by the governor can add chemicals to this list. In 2011, the panel voted to make acetaminophen a “high priority” for consideration because it believed there was relevant evidence to consider, according to Sam Delson, spokesman for the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

 

The review process has been slow, but the panel is scheduled to have a public hearing on the listing this spring after the public comment period closes on Jan. 27.

 

“It’s a difficult issue because it’s a very commonly used drug. But that doesn’t make any difference. That’s not what our mandate is,” said Thomas Mack, chairman of the Carcinogen Identification Committee and a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California.

 

Adding a chemical to the list can have broad repercussions. After the state listed glyphosate — widely known as the weed killer Roundup — as a carcinogen in 2017, a jury ordered the company that makes Roundup to pay a California couple with cancer more than $2 billion. A judge later reduced that award to $87 million. That’s just one of the estimated 13,000 pending lawsuits involving the chemical.

 

That’s one reason why the industry is pushing back on a potential listing. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group representing over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, conducted its own review and found most studies suggest no risk for most forms of cancer, although some studies did show increased risk for kidney, liver and some forms of blood cancer.

 

The association urged California regulators to have a “cautious interpretation” of studies that show an increased risk of cancer.

 

Some listings in California require warning labels. But the state has made exceptions. Alcohol has been listed as a carcinogen since 1988. But instead of warning labels, the state directs the alcohol industry to provide signs to California retailers to post where alcohol is sold.

 

Acrylamide, a byproduct of roasting coffee beans, has been listed as a carcinogen since 1990. But when a court ruling would have resulted in warning labels for coffee, state regulators stepped in and exempted the drink.

 

Source

 

Edited by aum
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Banning paracetamol, seriously? It is the only drug that help cure many potentially fatal diseases such as dengue and Ebola. It may act as carcinogen but that only happens when it is overused. Rather than banning it they should launch cancer awareness campaign and advise the people to not to overuse it to the level where it can become a carcinogen agent. I read a report during the days of Ebola outbreak. Paracetamol is only med that can be administer to Ebola patients to help them overcome the pain without worsening the disease. Banning it could become a deadly mistake. What would are they going to treat the patients if certain cases arise which can only be treated by administering paracetamol ( i hope that never happens anywhere in the world.)

Edited by xkryptonx
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@xkryptonx  Please relax.  No one is banning any medicine (re: " A state law known as Proposition 65 says California must warn people of any chemical known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity) just considering if it should be included in its list of carcinogen substances.

 

In any case, even then the listed medications are and will be available to be administrated in a hospital setting.

 

So, the sky is not falling yet.  😊

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1 hour ago, aum said:

@xkryptonx  Please relax.  No one is banning any medicine (re: " A state law known as Proposition 65 says California must warn people of any chemical known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity) just considering if it should be included in its list of carcinogen substances.

I hope so. Almost all drugs have side-effects. That is a known fact. Even the air we breathe can be carcinogenic (There are some weed whose spore can cause lung caner and cause lung cancer.) Doesn't means that we stop breathing the air too. 

 

1 hour ago, aum said:

 was banned by the FDA in 1983 because it caused cancer.

 

1 hour ago, aum said:

So, the sky is not falling yet.  

Maybe not yet. But once it is decided to classify the drug as carcinogen it won't take them long to consider banning the drug. That will automatically result in a declination of manufacturing that drug. This could lead to shortage of drug in some scenarios. Like i said lets hope it doesn't happen anywhere around globe. I hope the sky never fall anywhere in world like it did fall in Africa during Ebola outbreak and cause widespread horror around the globe. Many people even said that the humanity is on the verge of extinction. 

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18 minutes ago, xkryptonx said:

Maybe not yet. But once it is decided to classify the drug as carcinogen it won't take them long to consider banning the drug. That will automatically result in a declination of manufacturing that drug. This could lead to shortage of drug in some scenarios...

Let's cross the that bridge when we come to it.

 

As I have said here several times: future is very predicable, the present not much.  😉

20 minutes ago, xkryptonx said:

Many people even said that the humanity is on the verge of extinction. 

Yeah! That's why exists the saying: The Sky is falling. 

 

@xkryptonx I do share your concerns; and that's the reason for my posting the article in the first place so that we remain informed on issues that matter to us.  Good luck to all of us!

 

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