A review conducted by the World Health Organization has revealed that lindane, an insecticide, can cause cancer in humans. The use of the chemical has been linked to the occurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a rare kind of cancer.
The study confirmed lindane as a carcinogenic insecticide. In addition, the report further stressed that people exposed to the chemical are at a 60 percent greater risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Although lindane is now completely banned in the U.K. and the U.S., it was once used widely in the agricultural industry. Even today, lindane is used as an ingredient in treatment for lice and scabies in Canada and some developing nations, including India and China. The WHO believes that people in Britain might still be exposed to the chemical via food products imported from developing countries.
WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) further revealed that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly referred to as DDT, could also be carcinogenic to humans. The Guardian reports that the researchers found the evidence that linked an exposure of DDT to an increased risk of liver cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and testicular cancer.
"The agricultural usage of Lindane has been severely restricted starting in the 1970s and current general-population exposure is mainly through diet or when treated for scabies or lice. There are currently no epidemiological studies to quantify the lymphoma risk from these exposures," said Dr. Kurt Straif of IARC, in a statement.
A study published in 2014 claimed that people with higher levels of DDT metabolites were at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, the study findings could not establish whether DDT had led to dementia.
The study findings have been published in the journal Lancet Oncology.