Presentation on theme: "International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Classification of Radio Frequency (RF) Summary – May 2011."— Presentation transcript:
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Classification of Radio Frequency (RF) Summary – May 2011
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) An agency of the World Health Organization (WHO)
EMF & Health Research Timeline In 2011 IARC is scheduled to review the scientific evidence for Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) What does IARC do? IARC's mission is to coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, and to develop scientific strategies for cancer prevention and control. IARC classifies agents that humans may be exposed to based on the strength of evidence of their potential as human cancer hazards. A cancer 'hazard' is an agent that is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances, while a cancer 'risk' is an estimate of the carcinogenic effects expected from exposure to a cancer hazard. IARC does not consider ‘risk’ or likelihood of harm to humans. It only considers the strength of the scientific evidence for a cancer association. Importantly, risk may not be present at everyday levels of exposure to the agent being assessed.
IARC Working Groups Working groups of expert scientists review the published studies and evaluate the weight of the evidence that an agent can increase the risk of cancer. Working Group members aim to achieve consensus regarding the adequacy of the evidence and how to classify the agent(s) under consideration. The objective of the programme is to prepare and publish in the form of Monographs, critical reviews and evaluations of evidence on the carcinogenicity of a wide range of human exposures. Click here for IARC overview Click here for IARC General Principles and Procedures
What are the IARC Classifications? For each agent reviewed, the IARC uses five classifications for the strength of the scientific evidence that an exposure may be a cancer hazard. Since 1971, more than 900 agents have been evaluated, of which more than 400 have been identified as carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, or possibly carcinogenic to humans. The agents include chemicals, complex mixtures, processes, occupational or environmental exposures, cultural or behavioural practices, biological organisms, and physical substances. Click below for the IARC classifications; http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/index.php http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/index.php
Next Steps The IARC evaluation is the first step in assessing if an agent is a cancer hazard. The next step is assessing cancer risk. An agent may be classed as a cancer hazard by IARC even though the cancer risk is low at current human exposures. Industry relies on expert agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), to inform governments and public health agencies on the outcome and implications of any new analysis such as the IARC classification. The IARC findings add to the existing body of science and will be reviewed by the WHO as part of a risk assessment to consider if there is any public risk at current levels of exposure to radio frequency fields from mobile phones, wireless devices, microwaves, radar and radio and television broadcasts radio signals.
Current WHO and IARC views on risk In the past decade, more than 30 authoritative, independent expert scientific reviews undertaken around the world, including by the WHO, have not found adverse health effects cause by mobile phones or base stations operating within the scientific-based public exposure guidelines. The WHO stated in May 2010: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use.” IARC stated in the 2008 World Cancer Report (pg 461): "With reference to radio frequency, available data do not show any excess risk of brain cancer and other neoplasms associated with the use of mobile phones”.
Useful References IARC - home page IARC - classification preamble IARC - list of classifications IARC - Evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans World Health Organization – Electromagnetic Fields World Health Organization – IARC Classification summary EMF Explained Series Note: Hyperlinks active when viewed in slide show