No "compelling" chemical cancer link says Cancer Research UK

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has sought to dispel fears of a link between cancer and chemicals found in plastics and pesticides.

The charity was responding to research which claimed that environmental exposure to chemical substances which have entered the food chain could play a larger role in cancer than previously recognised.

"People should not be alarmed by this study - it is a review of previously reported research and does not present new findings," said professor John Toy of Cancer Research UK.

"The authors suggest that it is feasible that certain chemicals could be a factor in causing cancer but do not find compelling scientific evidence to prove a link," he added.

The research surveyed previous studies into organochlorines, used in pesticides and some plastics, which can be ingested by humans through drinking water, eating meat or dairy products or by being inhaled.

Some previous studies have suggested that they may affect hormone production, which is linked to some cancers such as breast prostate and testicular cancer.

The researchers, from the University of Liverpool, claimed that the substances may be transferred to children while they were in the womb or breastfeeding, and that it is "feasible" that the risks to children and young adults had been underestimated.