A substance’s ability to cause cancer.

Carcinogens affect the processes that cells use to heal and replicate, causing mutations that can eventually lead to cancer. Well-known carcinogens include asbestos, tobacco, and alcohol.

Most topical products (including lubricants) do not knowingly use carcinogenic ingredients; however, scientists often have trouble definitively identifying carcinogens due to the large number of factors that can affect carcinogenesis. Parabens, a common preservative, have been suggested as a potential carcinogen, but more research needs to be completed to verify this.

Carcinogenic substances include both natural and synthetic substances.