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polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Sunday 12 March 2006

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as benzopyren, represent some of the most potent carcinogens known. They require metabolic activation and can induce tumors in a wide variety of tissues and species.

Painted on the skin, they cause skin cancers; injected subcutaneously, they induce sarcomas; introduced into a specific organ, they cause cancers locally.

The polycyclic hydrocarbons are of particular interest as carcinogens because they are produced in the combustion of tobacco, particularly with cigarette smoking, and are thought to contribute to the causation of lung and bladder cancers.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also produced from animal fats in the process of broiling meats and are present in smoked meats and fish.

See also

- carcinogenic agents
- chemical carcinogenesis