Paradichlorobenzene: Potential Toxic Chemical and Carcinogen in Household Products


One popular chemical compound that has been branded a carcinogen is Para-dichlorobenzene. This carcinogenic-containing toxic chemical is an organic chemical compound that is a colorless solid with a very strong smell. This toxic chemical shares the same characteristics with another popular chemical, Naphthalene. Both Para-dichlorobenzene and naphthalene are found in most common household products where they function as moth repellents and air fresheners. They are also used in toilet bowl cleaners.


Para-dichlorobenzene has been identified as a non-genotoxic, group 2B carcinogen (a carcinogen that is not caused by DNA action) by the US National Toxicology Program (US NTP) and the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC). This toxic chemical has also been identified as a potential human carcinogen by the American Society for Cancer. This is because it has already been proven that it causes cancer in rodents. It does this by creating cancerous tumors in air passages in animals that may lead to pharynx and lung cancer.


Indeed, there has been a speculation that there is a possibility that this toxic chemical-containing carcinogen, Para-dichlorobenzene, can lead to cancer in humans. It is believed that the long-term exposure to strong fumes and strong odor of the chemical in repellents and air fresheners can lead to lung cancer formation in humans. This carcinogen found in household products may affect human cells and may lead to cancer in any of the 2 ways mentioned here.

1.       This carcinogen-containing toxic chemical may cause cancer by promoting the cellular mechanism which enhances the survival and proliferation of cancer cells when strong odors of this chemical is inhaled over a long period of time.

2.       Para-dichlorobenzene has been known to suppress apoptosis (cell self-destruction mechanism). It doesthis by deactivating the enzyme, Caspase through the oxidization of the active site, cysteine residue-a clear proof of how free radicals cause cancer. This process suppress apoptosis and by blocking this enzyme, this toxic chemical and carcinogen ensure the growth of affected cells and the spread of cancer.

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