Sunday, November 14, 2004

Occupational Carcinogens

The publication abstracted below is available in full text on the website indicated.

BrooklynDodger suggests that this report is somewhat outdated in that IARC has promoted formaldehyde to a known human carcinogen from probable, based on updated occupational mortality studies. Depending on how you count, a case can be made that the majority of agents known to be carcinogenic to people were discoved through studies in the occupational environment.
Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 112, Number 15
November 2004

Listing Occupational Carcinogens

Jack Siemiatycki,1,2 Lesley Richardson,3 Kurt Straif,3 Benoit Latreille,4 Ramzan Lakhani,4 Sally Campbell,4 Marie-Claude Rousseau,1 and Paolo Boffetta3,5
1Département de Médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada; 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada; 3International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France; 4INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Laval, Québec, Canada; 5Division of Clinical Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract The occupational environment has been a most fruitful one for investigating the etiology of human cancer. Many recognized human carcinogens are occupational carcinogens. There is a large volume of epidemiologic and experimental data concerning cancer risks in different work environments. It is important to synthesize this information for both scientific and public health purposes. Various organizations and individuals have published lists of occupational carcinogens. However, such lists have been limited by unclear criteria for which recognized carcinogens should be considered occupational carcinogens, and by inconsistent and incomplete information on the occupations and industries in which the carcinogenic substances may be found and on their target sites of cancer. Based largely on the evaluations published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and augmented with additional information, the present article represents an attempt to summarize, in tabular form, current knowledge on occupational carcinogens, the occupations and industries in which they are found, and their target organs. We have considered 28 agents as definite occupational carcinogens, 27 agents as probable occupational carcinogens, and 113 agents as possible occupational carcinogens. These tables should be useful for regulatory or preventive purposes and for scientific purposes in research priority setting and in understanding carcinogenesis. Keywords: cancer, environment, epidemiology, occupation, review. Environ Health Perspect 112:1447-1459 (2004). [Online 15 July 2004]
Address correspondence to J. Siemiatycki, Département de Médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, P.O. Box 6128, stn Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3C 3J7. Telephone: (450) 686-5676. Fax: (450) 686-5599. E-mail:
This work was in part supported by funds from the Centre de recherche du CHUM and from the Canada Research Chair Program.
The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

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