International Agency for Research on Cancer
Overview
 
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; ) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

Its main offices are in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Its role is to conduct and coordinate research into the causes of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

. It also conducts epidemiological
Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

 studies into the occurrence of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 worldwide. It maintains a series of monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

s on the carcinogenic risks to humans posed by a variety of agents, mixtures and exposures.
The IARC categorizes agents, mixtures and exposures into five categories.
  • Group 1: carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2A: probably carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2B: possibly carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 3: not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.
  • Group 4: probably not carcinogenic to humans.
Encyclopedia
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; ) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

Its main offices are in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Its role is to conduct and coordinate research into the causes of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

. It also conducts epidemiological
Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

 studies into the occurrence of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 worldwide. It maintains a series of monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

s on the carcinogenic risks to humans posed by a variety of agents, mixtures and exposures.

IARC categories

The IARC categorizes agents, mixtures and exposures into five categories.
  • Group 1: carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2A: probably carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2B: possibly carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 3: not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.
  • Group 4: probably not carcinogenic to humans. Only one substance – caprolactam
    Caprolactam
    Caprolactam is an organic compound with the formula 5CNH. This colourless solid is a lactam or a cyclic amide of caproic acid. Approximately 2 billion kilograms are produced annually...

     – has both been assessed for carcinogenicity by the IARC and placed in this category.

Industry influence and transparency

Critics of the IARC have stated that it has become susceptible to industry influence and suffers from a lack of transparency. Lorenzo Tomatis, its director from 1982 to 1993, was "barred from entering the building" in 2003 after "accusing the IARC of softpedaling the risks of industrial chemicals" in a 2002 article. In 2003 thirty public-health scientists signed a letter targeting conflicts of interest and the lack of transparency. The IARC rejected these criticisms, and there was hope that the controversy would "die down" after Paul Kleihues (Director from 1994) retired in 2004 and Peter Boyle became the new director.

Tomatis focused on the IARC monographs which rate chemicals carcinogenicity, and cited several cases in his 2002 critique. In 1998 a panel voted 17-13 to rate 1,3-butadiene
1,3-Butadiene
1,3-Butadiene is a simple conjugated diene with the formula C4H6. It is an important industrial chemical used as a monomer in the production of synthetic rubber. When the word butadiene is used, most of the time it refers to 1,3-butadiene....

 a carcinogen. A second vote which Tomatis called "highly irregular" occurred after "industry observers schmoozed with the panelists and one panelist left the meeting", and a 15-14 vote downgraded the chemical to a "possible carcinogen". Joan Denton, director of California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, made accusations in relation to styrene in 2002, and Michael Jacobsen of the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit watchdog and consumer advocacy group focusing on nutritional education and awareness.-History and funding:...

 criticized the inclusion of industry observers in a saccharin panel, who were allowed to vote. Tomatis has also highlighted DEHP. In defense of the IARC, Kleihues noted that only 17 of 410 of the working-group participants were consultants to industry and these people never served as chairs. He said people that "people who receive funds from affected agencies do not vote", and further noted that industry-funded scientists are important because industry often funds studies.

IARC's secrecy led a Lancet Oncology editorial to warn of the agency's eroding reputation. As of 2003 the IARC did not release details of disputed votes, did not release the financial disclosure forms required of panelists, or the names of the panelists until the panel is complete. Individuals being considered for the new director are released only to representatives from the 16 member countries. Kleihues and other agency officials defend the IARC, with Kleihues noting that procedures and names are listed on the finished monographs, and said names are not released to avoid political pressures. The IARC was considering new transparency disclosures such as a "narrative" explaining disputed votes.

See also

  • European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
  • National Cancer Institute
    National Cancer Institute
    The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health , which is one of 11 agencies that are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NCI coordinates the U.S...

     (USA)
  • Air pollution
    Air pollution
    Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

  • Cancer
    Cancer
    Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

  • Carcinogen
    Carcinogen
    A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes...

  • Genotoxic
    Genotoxic
    In genetics, genotoxicity describes a deleterious action on a cell's genetic material affecting its integrity. This includes both certain chemical compounds and certain types of radiation....

  • Mutagen
    Mutagen
    In genetics, a mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic material, usually DNA, of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level. As many mutations cause cancer, mutagens are therefore also likely to be carcinogens...

  • Toxicology
    Toxicology
    Toxicology is a branch of biology, chemistry, and medicine concerned with the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK