IARC monographs: 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans

Neil Pearce, Aaron Blair, Paolo Vineis, Wolfgang Ahrens, Aage Andersen, Josep M. Anto, Bruce K. Armstrong, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Frederick A. Beland, Amy Berrington, Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Linda S. Birnbaum, Ross C. Brownson, John R. Bucher, Kenneth P. Cantor, Elisabeth Cardis, John W. Cherrie, David C. Christiani, Pierluigi Cocco, David CoggonPietro Comba, Paul A. Demers, John M. Dement, Jeroen Douwes, Ellen A. Eisen, Lawrence S. Engel, Richard A. Fenske, Lora E. Fleming, Tony Fletcher, Elizabeth Fontham, Francesco Forastiere, Rainer Frentzel-Beyme, Lin Fritschi, Michel Gerin, Marcel Goldberg, Philippe Grandjean, Tom K. Grimsrud, Per Gustavsson, Andy Haines, Patricia Hartge, Johnni Hansen, Michael Hauptmann, Dick Heederik, Kari Hemminki, Denis Hemon, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Jane A. Hoppin, James Huff, Bengt Jarvholm, Daehee Kang, Margaret R. Karagas, Kristina Kjaerheim, Helge Kjuus, Manolis Kogevinas, David Kriebel, Petter Kristensen, Hans Kromhout, Francine Laden, Pierre Lebailly, Grace Lemasters, Jay H. Lubin, Charles F. Lynch, Elsebeth Lynge, Andreat Mannetje, Anthony J. McMichael, John R. McLaughlin, Loraine Marrett, Marco Martuzzi, James A. Merchant, Enzo Merler, Franco Merletti, Anthony Miller, Franklin E. Mirer, Richard Monson, Karl Cristian Nordby, Andrew F. Olshan, Marie Elise Parent, Frederica P. Perera, Melissa J. Perry, Angela Cecilia Pesatori, Roberta Pirastu, Miquel Porta, Eero Pukkala, Carol Rice, David B. Richardson, Leonard Ritter, Beate Ritz, Cecile M. Ronckers, Lesley Rushton, Jennifer A. Rusiecki, Ivan Rusyn, Jonathan M. Samet, Dale P. Sandler, Silvia de Sanjose, Eva Schernhammer, Adele Seniori Costantini, Noah Seixas, Carl Shy, Jack Siemiatycki, Debra T. Silverman, Lorenzo Simonato, Allan H. Smith, Martyn T. Smith, John J. Spinelli, Margaret R. Spitz, Lorann Stallones, Leslie T. Stayner, Kyle Steenland, Mark Stenzel, Bernard W. Stewart, Patricia A. Stewart, Elaine Symanski, Benedetto Terracini, Paige E. Tolbert, Harri Vainio, John Vena, Roel Vermeulen, Cesar G. Victora, Elizabeth M. Ward, Clarice R. Weinberg, Dennis Weisenburger, Catharina Wesseling, Elisabete Weiderpass, Shelia Hoar Zahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Programme for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans has been criticized for several of its evaluations, and also for the approach used to perform these evaluations. Some critics have claimed that failures of IARC Working Groups to recognize study weaknesses and biases of Working Group members have led to inappropriate classification of a number of agents as carcinogenic to humans. oBjectives: The authors of this Commentary are scientists from various disciplines relevant to the identification and hazard evaluation of human carcinogens. We examined criticisms of the IARC classification process to determine the validity of these concerns. Here, we present the results of that examination, review the history of IARC evaluations, and describe how the IARC evaluations are performed. discussion: We concluded that these recent criticisms are unconvincing. The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various disciplines and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed. conclusions: The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Volume123
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

International Agencies
Research
Neoplasms
Program Evaluation
Carcinogens
Public Health
History
Weights and Measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Pearce, N., Blair, A., Vineis, P., Ahrens, W., Andersen, A., Anto, J. M., ... Zahm, S. H. (2015). IARC monographs: 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123(6), 507-514. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409149

IARC monographs : 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans. / Pearce, Neil; Blair, Aaron; Vineis, Paolo; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Andersen, Aage; Anto, Josep M.; Armstrong, Bruce K.; Baccarelli, Andrea A.; Beland, Frederick A.; Berrington, Amy; Bertazzi, Pier Alberto; Birnbaum, Linda S.; Brownson, Ross C.; Bucher, John R.; Cantor, Kenneth P.; Cardis, Elisabeth; Cherrie, John W.; Christiani, David C.; Cocco, Pierluigi; Coggon, David; Comba, Pietro; Demers, Paul A.; Dement, John M.; Douwes, Jeroen; Eisen, Ellen A.; Engel, Lawrence S.; Fenske, Richard A.; Fleming, Lora E.; Fletcher, Tony; Fontham, Elizabeth; Forastiere, Francesco; Frentzel-Beyme, Rainer; Fritschi, Lin; Gerin, Michel; Goldberg, Marcel; Grandjean, Philippe; Grimsrud, Tom K.; Gustavsson, Per; Haines, Andy; Hartge, Patricia; Hansen, Johnni; Hauptmann, Michael; Heederik, Dick; Hemminki, Kari; Hemon, Denis; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva; Hoppin, Jane A.; Huff, James; Jarvholm, Bengt; Kang, Daehee; Karagas, Margaret R.; Kjaerheim, Kristina; Kjuus, Helge; Kogevinas, Manolis; Kriebel, David; Kristensen, Petter; Kromhout, Hans; Laden, Francine; Lebailly, Pierre; Lemasters, Grace; Lubin, Jay H.; Lynch, Charles F.; Lynge, Elsebeth; Mannetje, Andreat; McMichael, Anthony J.; McLaughlin, John R.; Marrett, Loraine; Martuzzi, Marco; Merchant, James A.; Merler, Enzo; Merletti, Franco; Miller, Anthony; Mirer, Franklin E.; Monson, Richard; Nordby, Karl Cristian; Olshan, Andrew F.; Parent, Marie Elise; Perera, Frederica P.; Perry, Melissa J.; Pesatori, Angela Cecilia; Pirastu, Roberta; Porta, Miquel; Pukkala, Eero; Rice, Carol; Richardson, David B.; Ritter, Leonard; Ritz, Beate; Ronckers, Cecile M.; Rushton, Lesley; Rusiecki, Jennifer A.; Rusyn, Ivan; Samet, Jonathan M.; Sandler, Dale P.; de Sanjose, Silvia; Schernhammer, Eva; Costantini, Adele Seniori; Seixas, Noah; Shy, Carl; Siemiatycki, Jack; Silverman, Debra T.; Simonato, Lorenzo; Smith, Allan H.; Smith, Martyn T.; Spinelli, John J.; Spitz, Margaret R.; Stallones, Lorann; Stayner, Leslie T.; Steenland, Kyle; Stenzel, Mark; Stewart, Bernard W.; Stewart, Patricia A.; Symanski, Elaine; Terracini, Benedetto; Tolbert, Paige E.; Vainio, Harri; Vena, John; Vermeulen, Roel; Victora, Cesar G.; Ward, Elizabeth M.; Weinberg, Clarice R.; Weisenburger, Dennis; Wesseling, Catharina; Weiderpass, Elisabete; Zahm, Shelia Hoar.

In: Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 123, No. 6, 2015, p. 507-514.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pearce, N, Blair, A, Vineis, P, Ahrens, W, Andersen, A, Anto, JM, Armstrong, BK, Baccarelli, AA, Beland, FA, Berrington, A, Bertazzi, PA, Birnbaum, LS, Brownson, RC, Bucher, JR, Cantor, KP, Cardis, E, Cherrie, JW, Christiani, DC, Cocco, P, Coggon, D, Comba, P, Demers, PA, Dement, JM, Douwes, J, Eisen, EA, Engel, LS, Fenske, RA, Fleming, LE, Fletcher, T, Fontham, E, Forastiere, F, Frentzel-Beyme, R, Fritschi, L, Gerin, M, Goldberg, M, Grandjean, P, Grimsrud, TK, Gustavsson, P, Haines, A, Hartge, P, Hansen, J, Hauptmann, M, Heederik, D, Hemminki, K, Hemon, D, Hertz-Picciotto, I, Hoppin, JA, Huff, J, Jarvholm, B, Kang, D, Karagas, MR, Kjaerheim, K, Kjuus, H, Kogevinas, M, Kriebel, D, Kristensen, P, Kromhout, H, Laden, F, Lebailly, P, Lemasters, G, Lubin, JH, Lynch, CF, Lynge, E, Mannetje, A, McMichael, AJ, McLaughlin, JR, Marrett, L, Martuzzi, M, Merchant, JA, Merler, E, Merletti, F, Miller, A, Mirer, FE, Monson, R, Nordby, KC, Olshan, AF, Parent, ME, Perera, FP, Perry, MJ, Pesatori, AC, Pirastu, R, Porta, M, Pukkala, E, Rice, C, Richardson, DB, Ritter, L, Ritz, B, Ronckers, CM, Rushton, L, Rusiecki, JA, Rusyn, I, Samet, JM, Sandler, DP, de Sanjose, S, Schernhammer, E, Costantini, AS, Seixas, N, Shy, C, Siemiatycki, J, Silverman, DT, Simonato, L, Smith, AH, Smith, MT, Spinelli, JJ, Spitz, MR, Stallones, L, Stayner, LT, Steenland, K, Stenzel, M, Stewart, BW, Stewart, PA, Symanski, E, Terracini, B, Tolbert, PE, Vainio, H, Vena, J, Vermeulen, R, Victora, CG, Ward, EM, Weinberg, CR, Weisenburger, D, Wesseling, C, Weiderpass, E & Zahm, SH 2015, 'IARC monographs: 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans', Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 123, no. 6, pp. 507-514. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409149
Pearce, Neil ; Blair, Aaron ; Vineis, Paolo ; Ahrens, Wolfgang ; Andersen, Aage ; Anto, Josep M. ; Armstrong, Bruce K. ; Baccarelli, Andrea A. ; Beland, Frederick A. ; Berrington, Amy ; Bertazzi, Pier Alberto ; Birnbaum, Linda S. ; Brownson, Ross C. ; Bucher, John R. ; Cantor, Kenneth P. ; Cardis, Elisabeth ; Cherrie, John W. ; Christiani, David C. ; Cocco, Pierluigi ; Coggon, David ; Comba, Pietro ; Demers, Paul A. ; Dement, John M. ; Douwes, Jeroen ; Eisen, Ellen A. ; Engel, Lawrence S. ; Fenske, Richard A. ; Fleming, Lora E. ; Fletcher, Tony ; Fontham, Elizabeth ; Forastiere, Francesco ; Frentzel-Beyme, Rainer ; Fritschi, Lin ; Gerin, Michel ; Goldberg, Marcel ; Grandjean, Philippe ; Grimsrud, Tom K. ; Gustavsson, Per ; Haines, Andy ; Hartge, Patricia ; Hansen, Johnni ; Hauptmann, Michael ; Heederik, Dick ; Hemminki, Kari ; Hemon, Denis ; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva ; Hoppin, Jane A. ; Huff, James ; Jarvholm, Bengt ; Kang, Daehee ; Karagas, Margaret R. ; Kjaerheim, Kristina ; Kjuus, Helge ; Kogevinas, Manolis ; Kriebel, David ; Kristensen, Petter ; Kromhout, Hans ; Laden, Francine ; Lebailly, Pierre ; Lemasters, Grace ; Lubin, Jay H. ; Lynch, Charles F. ; Lynge, Elsebeth ; Mannetje, Andreat ; McMichael, Anthony J. ; McLaughlin, John R. ; Marrett, Loraine ; Martuzzi, Marco ; Merchant, James A. ; Merler, Enzo ; Merletti, Franco ; Miller, Anthony ; Mirer, Franklin E. ; Monson, Richard ; Nordby, Karl Cristian ; Olshan, Andrew F. ; Parent, Marie Elise ; Perera, Frederica P. ; Perry, Melissa J. ; Pesatori, Angela Cecilia ; Pirastu, Roberta ; Porta, Miquel ; Pukkala, Eero ; Rice, Carol ; Richardson, David B. ; Ritter, Leonard ; Ritz, Beate ; Ronckers, Cecile M. ; Rushton, Lesley ; Rusiecki, Jennifer A. ; Rusyn, Ivan ; Samet, Jonathan M. ; Sandler, Dale P. ; de Sanjose, Silvia ; Schernhammer, Eva ; Costantini, Adele Seniori ; Seixas, Noah ; Shy, Carl ; Siemiatycki, Jack ; Silverman, Debra T. ; Simonato, Lorenzo ; Smith, Allan H. ; Smith, Martyn T. ; Spinelli, John J. ; Spitz, Margaret R. ; Stallones, Lorann ; Stayner, Leslie T. ; Steenland, Kyle ; Stenzel, Mark ; Stewart, Bernard W. ; Stewart, Patricia A. ; Symanski, Elaine ; Terracini, Benedetto ; Tolbert, Paige E. ; Vainio, Harri ; Vena, John ; Vermeulen, Roel ; Victora, Cesar G. ; Ward, Elizabeth M. ; Weinberg, Clarice R. ; Weisenburger, Dennis ; Wesseling, Catharina ; Weiderpass, Elisabete ; Zahm, Shelia Hoar. / IARC monographs : 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans. In: Environmental Health Perspectives. 2015 ; Vol. 123, No. 6. pp. 507-514.
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title = "IARC monographs: 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans",
abstract = "Background: Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Programme for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans has been criticized for several of its evaluations, and also for the approach used to perform these evaluations. Some critics have claimed that failures of IARC Working Groups to recognize study weaknesses and biases of Working Group members have led to inappropriate classification of a number of agents as carcinogenic to humans. oBjectives: The authors of this Commentary are scientists from various disciplines relevant to the identification and hazard evaluation of human carcinogens. We examined criticisms of the IARC classification process to determine the validity of these concerns. Here, we present the results of that examination, review the history of IARC evaluations, and describe how the IARC evaluations are performed. discussion: We concluded that these recent criticisms are unconvincing. The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various disciplines and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed. conclusions: The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.",
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T1 - IARC monographs

T2 - 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans

AU - Pearce, Neil

AU - Blair, Aaron

AU - Vineis, Paolo

AU - Ahrens, Wolfgang

AU - Andersen, Aage

AU - Anto, Josep M.

AU - Armstrong, Bruce K.

AU - Baccarelli, Andrea A.

AU - Beland, Frederick A.

AU - Berrington, Amy

AU - Bertazzi, Pier Alberto

AU - Birnbaum, Linda S.

AU - Brownson, Ross C.

AU - Bucher, John R.

AU - Cantor, Kenneth P.

AU - Cardis, Elisabeth

AU - Cherrie, John W.

AU - Christiani, David C.

AU - Cocco, Pierluigi

AU - Coggon, David

AU - Comba, Pietro

AU - Demers, Paul A.

AU - Dement, John M.

AU - Douwes, Jeroen

AU - Eisen, Ellen A.

AU - Engel, Lawrence S.

AU - Fenske, Richard A.

AU - Fleming, Lora E.

AU - Fletcher, Tony

AU - Fontham, Elizabeth

AU - Forastiere, Francesco

AU - Frentzel-Beyme, Rainer

AU - Fritschi, Lin

AU - Gerin, Michel

AU - Goldberg, Marcel

AU - Grandjean, Philippe

AU - Grimsrud, Tom K.

AU - Gustavsson, Per

AU - Haines, Andy

AU - Hartge, Patricia

AU - Hansen, Johnni

AU - Hauptmann, Michael

AU - Heederik, Dick

AU - Hemminki, Kari

AU - Hemon, Denis

AU - Hertz-Picciotto, Irva

AU - Hoppin, Jane A.

AU - Huff, James

AU - Jarvholm, Bengt

AU - Kang, Daehee

AU - Karagas, Margaret R.

AU - Kjaerheim, Kristina

AU - Kjuus, Helge

AU - Kogevinas, Manolis

AU - Kriebel, David

AU - Kristensen, Petter

AU - Kromhout, Hans

AU - Laden, Francine

AU - Lebailly, Pierre

AU - Lemasters, Grace

AU - Lubin, Jay H.

AU - Lynch, Charles F.

AU - Lynge, Elsebeth

AU - Mannetje, Andreat

AU - McMichael, Anthony J.

AU - McLaughlin, John R.

AU - Marrett, Loraine

AU - Martuzzi, Marco

AU - Merchant, James A.

AU - Merler, Enzo

AU - Merletti, Franco

AU - Miller, Anthony

AU - Mirer, Franklin E.

AU - Monson, Richard

AU - Nordby, Karl Cristian

AU - Olshan, Andrew F.

AU - Parent, Marie Elise

AU - Perera, Frederica P.

AU - Perry, Melissa J.

AU - Pesatori, Angela Cecilia

AU - Pirastu, Roberta

AU - Porta, Miquel

AU - Pukkala, Eero

AU - Rice, Carol

AU - Richardson, David B.

AU - Ritter, Leonard

AU - Ritz, Beate

AU - Ronckers, Cecile M.

AU - Rushton, Lesley

AU - Rusiecki, Jennifer A.

AU - Rusyn, Ivan

AU - Samet, Jonathan M.

AU - Sandler, Dale P.

AU - de Sanjose, Silvia

AU - Schernhammer, Eva

AU - Costantini, Adele Seniori

AU - Seixas, Noah

AU - Shy, Carl

AU - Siemiatycki, Jack

AU - Silverman, Debra T.

AU - Simonato, Lorenzo

AU - Smith, Allan H.

AU - Smith, Martyn T.

AU - Spinelli, John J.

AU - Spitz, Margaret R.

AU - Stallones, Lorann

AU - Stayner, Leslie T.

AU - Steenland, Kyle

AU - Stenzel, Mark

AU - Stewart, Bernard W.

AU - Stewart, Patricia A.

AU - Symanski, Elaine

AU - Terracini, Benedetto

AU - Tolbert, Paige E.

AU - Vainio, Harri

AU - Vena, John

AU - Vermeulen, Roel

AU - Victora, Cesar G.

AU - Ward, Elizabeth M.

AU - Weinberg, Clarice R.

AU - Weisenburger, Dennis

AU - Wesseling, Catharina

AU - Weiderpass, Elisabete

AU - Zahm, Shelia Hoar

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Background: Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Programme for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans has been criticized for several of its evaluations, and also for the approach used to perform these evaluations. Some critics have claimed that failures of IARC Working Groups to recognize study weaknesses and biases of Working Group members have led to inappropriate classification of a number of agents as carcinogenic to humans. oBjectives: The authors of this Commentary are scientists from various disciplines relevant to the identification and hazard evaluation of human carcinogens. We examined criticisms of the IARC classification process to determine the validity of these concerns. Here, we present the results of that examination, review the history of IARC evaluations, and describe how the IARC evaluations are performed. discussion: We concluded that these recent criticisms are unconvincing. The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various disciplines and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed. conclusions: The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.

AB - Background: Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Programme for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans has been criticized for several of its evaluations, and also for the approach used to perform these evaluations. Some critics have claimed that failures of IARC Working Groups to recognize study weaknesses and biases of Working Group members have led to inappropriate classification of a number of agents as carcinogenic to humans. oBjectives: The authors of this Commentary are scientists from various disciplines relevant to the identification and hazard evaluation of human carcinogens. We examined criticisms of the IARC classification process to determine the validity of these concerns. Here, we present the results of that examination, review the history of IARC evaluations, and describe how the IARC evaluations are performed. discussion: We concluded that these recent criticisms are unconvincing. The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various disciplines and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed. conclusions: The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.

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DO - 10.1289/ehp.1409149

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JO - Environmental Health Perspectives

JF - Environmental Health Perspectives

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IS - 6

ER -