What do We Know about the Possible Carcinogen found in Zantac?

What is NDMA?

NDMA, also known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine, is a carcinogen that was first manufactured for rocket fuel, but later used only for research purposes when it became clear that the air, soil, and water in the testing areas were becoming contaminated. As a carcinogen, it has the potential to cause tumors that can lead to cancer when consumed in high dosages. It is a yellow liquid that has no discernible odor.

What has NDMA in it?

NDMA can be found in the air, in water, in the soil, in certain foods, and in certain medications, such as Zantac. Ingesting trace amounts of the carcinogen is fairly normal, as we typically take in minute amounts from the air and our food, but there are times when the levels reach beyond what is acceptable for human intake. This was found to happen if Zantac is left out either at or above room temperature, especially for long periods of time. The higher the temperature and the longer the medication sits, the higher the levels of NDMA.

How is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involved?

The FDA recently conducted tests to determine whether or not the carcinogen and the drug were linked to cancer diagnoses or a higher exposure rate. They found that though many of the samples they took did not have an alarming amount of NDMA, the amount of the carcinogen in the medication increased the longer it was left out in or above room temperature, sometimes resulting in levels of the carcinogen considered unacceptable. As a result, in April 2020 they issued a country-wide recall of ranitidine medications, also known as Zantac. Pharmacies and manufacturers were told to cease production and sale of the product.

World Health Organization (WHO) Findings

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted studies on the link between the carcinogen and the contraction of certain cancers. They found that not only could they conclude a link between the two, but they also suspect that humans may be especially susceptible to the carcinogenicity of the additive.

The WHO did not focus on a water source as the possible route of exposure, which tends to be one of th4e most common ways humans ingest NDMA, but instead looked at the total amount ingested on any given day.

How can I come in contact with NDMA?

There are multiple ways in which you might come in contact with the carcinogen in your daily life. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined a few of the most common ways that humans typically come into contact with it, citing:

  • Ingesting food that contains nitrosamines, such as smoked or cured meats and fish
  • Ingesting food that contains alkylamines, which can cause NDMA to form in the stomach

  • Drinking contaminated water

  • Drinking malt beverages (such as beer and whiskey) that may contain low levels of nitrosamines formed during processing

  • Using toiletry and cosmetic products such as shampoos and cleansers that contain NDMA

  • Breathing or inhaling cigarette smoke.

There are also certain occupations and workplaces which may have a higher chance of you being exposed to the ingredient, including those who work at tanneries, pesticide manufacturing plants and rubber and tire plants.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Were you sickened by the use of Zantac? NDMA is a possible carcinogen found in many items we use in our daily lives. However, the FDA found too much of it in Zantac. If you or a loved one has taken Zantac and been diagnosed with cancer, contact Kwartler Manus online or by phone at 267-214-8608 to schedule a complimentary consultation.


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