Date: Thu Dec 6 12:51:41 2001
Posted By: John Moulder, Faculty, Radiation Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin
Area of science: Cell Biology
Gold rings and cancer
Question from Iran:
"I've heard wearing golden rings may cause cancer for men. Is it right?"
I've never even heard of this rumor, but the MadSci administrator claims
that this is a common belief in some parts of the world.
A search of the biomedical literature finds no evidence that gold causes
cancer. If fact, I can find no evidence that metallic gold has much of any
biological activity at all.
The closest I can come to finding any connection is:
- Gold miners may have an increased risk of lung cancer, but this is
related to increased silica exposure.
- There was a story in circulation in 1999 that some gold sold in the US
came from recycling of radioactive wastes and was mildly radioactive. I
cannot verify that there was any truth to that story.
- Some gold compounds (but not metallic gold) may have some anti-cancer
Medical College of Wisconsin
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