In the Workplace

For some people, the workplace can be a source of exposure to some potentially harmful substances, such as asbestos, benzene, or formaldehyde. Learn more about these and other workplace exposures here.

Radiation Exposure and Cancer

When talking about radiation and cancer, many people think of specific kinds of radiation such as x-rays or the radiation made by nuclear reactors. But there are different types of radiation, and many of them are not linked to cancer.

Agent Orange and Cancer

During the Vietnam War, the US military used large amounts of mixtures known as defoliants, which were chemicals that caused the leaves to fall off plants. One of these defoliants was Agent Orange, and some troops were exposed to it.

Tetrachlorethylene (Perchloroethylene)

Tetrachlorethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or "perc", is the most common cleaning fluid used in dry cleaning. Tetrachlorethylene has been suspected of causing some types of cancer, based on both human and animal evidence.


Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers. Evidence from studies in both people and laboratory animals has shown that asbestos can increase the risk for some types of cancer.


Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and laboratory animals.


Arsenic is known to cause cancer, as well as many other serious health problems. Here we review the hazards of arsenic exposure and ways people can protect themselves from these hazards.

Hair Dyes

Many American women, as well as a small but increasing number of men, use hair dyes. You may have heard rumors about a link between using hair dye and getting cancer. Many studies have looked at hair dyes as a possible risk factor for various types of cancer. Here we will discuss what the research shows so that you can make choices that are comfortable for you.


Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling chemical that is used to make building materials and many household products. The short-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure are well known, but less is known about its possible long-term effects.