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High levels of toxins found in moist snuff

Dec. 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers found high levels of toxins in the smokeless tobacco product called moist snuff -- placed between lip and gum.

"Urgent measures are required from the U.S. tobacco industry to modify manufacturing processes so that the levels of these toxicants and carcinogens in U.S. moist snuff are greatly reduced," the study authors said in a statement.

Study leader Irina Stepanov of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and colleagues said prior to their discovery that at least eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are present in smokeless tobacco, only trace amounts of one of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbonss had been reported to be present in smokeless tobacco.

The study, published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, found out of the 23 samples of this category of tobacco products tested, 23 different polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were found -- nine of which were classified as carcinogens.

Stepanov noted use of moist snuff has increased by almost 80 fold between 1986-2003 -- partially because smokeless tobacco is considered less of a cancer risk than cigarette smoking. However, smokeless tobacco has lead to precancerous oral lesions and oral, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer, Stepanov said.

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