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A large rocket ascends from the launch tower in Florida, with smoke billowing

High levels of a chemical formerly used in rocket fuel detected in the popular heartburn medication, Zantac. In April 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs (commonly recognized as Zantac) be withdrawn immediately from the market. A lab test affirmed that the heartburn medication was contaminated with a carcinogen called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine medications endangering consumers with unacceptable levels of a cancer-causing agent. NDMA was created as a research chemical used in rocket fuel but was discontinued after high levels of this compound were detected in the environment encompassing the facility that developed the rocket fuel. NDMA can incidentally be produced through numerous manufacturing processes involving chemicals identified as alkylamines. The FDA has urged consumers still consuming OTC ranitidine to stop consuming this heartburn medication and dispose of it properly.

What is a Carcinogen?

A carcinogen is a substance or exposure that is determined to cause cancers in humans. Cancer is the spread of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy healthy body tissue. According to The American Cancer Society, carcinogens may cause cancer by altering a cell’s DNA directly. Carcinogens can indirectly result in cancer by causing cells to divide faster than normal, increasing the risk for the cell’s DNA to change.

Types of Cancers Associated with Ranitidine (Zantac)

The following cancers associated with Zantac may include:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Intestinal cancer


Every producer of products in North Carolina and throughout the United States have a responsibility to properly test all consumer items. This is especially true in cases where a consumer is using medication. The manufacturer of ranitidine medications, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, may have failed in this duty by allowing a known carcinogen to infiltrate the market.

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