Exposure to a cocktail of seemingly harmless everyday chemicals could cause cancer, a recent study found.

The research, conducted by a 174-strong global taskforce of leading scientists, found a link between exposure to 50 commonplace chemicals and the development of cancer.

The study analysed 85 chemicals deemed non-carcinogenic and found in daily life, concluding that nearly 60 per cent of them could have a cancerous effect when combined – even at low levels of exposure.

The findings, published last week in the Carcinogenesis journal, detail how the chemicals can be found in cosmetics, textiles, food, plastics and paints.

Some of those chemicals include titanium dioxide nanoparticles - which are found in sun cream and food colouring - as well as acrylamide, a substance found in fried foods.

While they may not be toxic themselves, the compounds can lead to cancer-related mechanisms in the body, such as immune system suppression.

In light of the revelations, the study – organised by NGO Getting To Know Cancer – has called for current cancer regulations to be revised:

Current regulations in many countries (that consider only the cumulative effects of exposures to individual carcinogens…) should be revisited.

Contributing scientist Dr Hemad Yasaei, a cancer biologist at Brunel University London, says action is “urgently” needed.

“This research backs up the idea that chemicals not considered harmful by themselves are combining and accumulating in our bodies to trigger cancer,” he said.

“We urgently need to focus more resources to research the effect of low dose exposure to mixtures of chemicals in the food we eat, air we breathe and water we drink.”

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