• For those who may not know, carcinogenic products are items that may have the potential to cause cancer. This may be in the form of substances in the air, products used topically or chemicals present in common food or drinks.

    While we all may first think of cigarettes as the major cause of cancer, there are other items, including food that we ingest that may lead to cancer down the line.

    Processed meats

    Salami, sausage, boerewors, pepperoni and bacon are just some of the culprits. Any processed meats that have preservatives and flavourants can increase your chances of getting colon cancer. Limit your intake of cured, fermented or smoked meats.

    processed meats
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    Asbestos is commonly found in roof and ceiling tiles, as well as in certain car parts. Once these fibres break off and are ingested through breathing, they can get lodged in the lungs and turn cancerous. As a result, South Africa has had a ban on asbestos since 2008, but if your house was built prior to that date and if you suspect that your tiling or roof may contain asbestos contact a builder to have it removed.

    Golden brown foods

    Acrylamide is a chemical that is produced when foods are heated at high temperatures. According to the FDA, frying, cooking or baking can produce acrylamide and it is mainly found in plant foods like potatoes. So be cautious with fries, chips and hashbrowns. It can also be found in grain products, like biscuits, cereal, and toast and even coffee.

    Pro-tip: Bake, roast and fry plant and grain products until tan brown, instead of golden brown.

    fried potatoes

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    This is a truly uncommon one! A chemical called formaldehyde can be found in plywood or even in fabrics commonly used in furniture. Studies on rats found that just being surrounded by formaldehyde could cause cancer.

    Pro-tip: Make sure your home has fresh air circulating and that humidity is kept to the minimum with a humidifier. 

    Skin exposure

    Skin treatments that make use of UV rays on exposed skin, like tanning beds, UV light therapy, phototherapy and more put you at risk of skin cancer. UV lights used to dry gel nails contain the same UV radiation. The majority of skin cancers are caused by exposure to UV rays. Extended time in the sun could have the same effect.

    Pro-tip: Wear sunscreen to protect you from the sun. Before a gel nail appointment, apply sunscreen or wear fingerless gloves. 


    Alcohol has been linked to breast, colorectal and liver cancer. This is due to the carcinogenic chemicals produced when beer, hard liquor or wine are made.


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