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Iarc Monographs Evaluate Hazard, Not Risk.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 13:17
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IARC’s work is focused exclusively on assessing the cancer hazard of a substance or action. It does not evaluate or determine cancer risk. This distinction often confuses the public because IARC uses the word “risk” in its monograph titles,[2] but its monographs preamble states the actual aim is to “identify cancer hazards even when risks are very low at current exposure levels.”[3]

This distinction makes a difference. An activity or exposure is considered a cancer hazard if it can potentially cause cancer under some possible set of circumstances. However, the activity or exposure also must be evaluated based on the cancer risk it poses to determine how likely it is that exposure to a substance or action will cause harm.

Unlike a simple hazard analysis, a risk assessment takes into account factors such as dose/concentration, exposure pathways, and probability of exposure to determine the likelihood that any given hazard will actually cause harm. Therefore, evaluations of cancer risks are far more relevant to policymakers and the public than IARC-reviewed cancer hazards…

IARC – Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research:


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