The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is a specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO).

IARC continuously evaluates the carcinogenicity of chemicals, occupations, physical agents, biological agents, and other agents that are suspected to be carcinogenic to humans. International working groups critically review published epidemiological and experimental studies and classify each agent into the following groups:

  • Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans
  • Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans
  • Group 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans
  • Group 3: Not classifiable
  • Group 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans

The goal of IARC’s classification process is to assess carcinogenic hazards from occupational, environmental, and lifestyle exposures and agents, thus providing an essential step in the societal decision-making process to identify and then control carcinogenic hazards. The classifications are widely used and referenced by governments, organizations, health personnel and the public around the world.

Volume 98 of IARC Monographs journal The IARC Monographs Programme identifies and evaluates environmental causes of cancer in humans. To date, more than 900 agents have been reviewed. The photo shows Volume 98, which reviews painting, firefighting and shiftwork.
© G. Tjalvin

Here you can read more about the classifications and download the Monographs.

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This article is from the free online course:

Occupational Health in Developing Countries

University of Bergen