What is a toxin or carcinogen?
Carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes. Several radioactive substances are considered carcinogens, but their carcinogenic activity is attributed to the radiation, for example gamma rays and alpha particles, which they emit. Common examples of non-radioactive carcinogens are inhaled asbestos, certain dioxins, and tobacco smoke. Although the public generally associates carcinogenicity with synthetic chemicals, it is equally likely to arise in both natural and synthetic substances. Carcinogens are not necessarily immediately toxic; thus, their effect can be insidious.
Benzene is a clear, colorless, highly flammable and volatile, liquid aromatic hydrocarbon with a gasoline-like odor. Benzene is found in crude oils and as a by-product of oil-refining processes. In industry benzene is used as a solvent, as a chemical intermediate, and is used in the synthesis of numerous chemicals. Exposure to this substance causes neurological symptoms and affects the bone marrow causing aplastic anemia, excessive bleeding and damage to the immune system. Benzene is a known human carcinogen and is linked to an increased risk of developing lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers, acute myelogenous leukemia, as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Carbon monoxide & smoke tars (at point of combustion)
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas, CO, that results from the incomplete combustion of carbon. Inhalation causes central nervous system damage and asphyxiation.