International Agency for Research on Cancer

History and Organization of IARC

  • Founded in 1965 by a resolution of the World Health Assembly
  • Initiated by Yves Poggioli's letter to Emmanuel dAstier de la Vignerie
  • Supported by French president Charles de Gaulle and World Health Organization director Marcolino Gomes Candau
  • Headquarters located in Lyon, France
  • Past directors include John Higginson, Lorenzo Tomatis, Paul Kleihues, Peter Boyle, Christopher Wild, and Elisabete Weiderpass
  • Five founding states: US, France, Italy, West Germany, and UK
  • IARC collaborates with organizations like European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition
  • IARC works closely with National Cancer Institute (US)
  • IARC focuses on genotoxic and mutagenic substances
  • China joined IARC in May 2021

IARC Monographs and Classifications

  • IARC Monographs series started in 1970
  • Identifies carcinogenic hazards based on qualitative assessment of animal and human evidence
  • Classifies agents, mixtures, and exposures into five categories
  • Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans (e.g., tobacco smoke, alcoholic beverages)
  • Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans (e.g., emissions from high-temperature frying of food, night shift work)
  • Controversy over classification of items like mobile phones and processed meat

Controversies and Reactions

  • Transparency concerns raised from 1998 to 2004
  • Lorenzo Tomatis accused IARC of softpedaling risks of industrial chemicals
  • Critics targeted conflicts of interest and lack of transparency
  • IARC defended its procedures, highlighting limited industry involvement
  • Voting details not published to protect integrity of the deliberative process
  • Glyphosate Monograph controversy
  • IARC classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A) in 2015
  • National regulatory authorities reevaluated glyphosate's risk
  • Regulators in Europe, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand found no significant carcinogenic risk
  • California listed glyphosate as unsafe chemical
  • Industry and Congressional reactions to IARC's evaluations

Funding Controversy and Methodology Criticism

  • U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a briefing on NIH's grant funding to IARC
  • NIH gave IARC over $1.2 million in 2016
  • Congressman Jason Chaffetz asked for details on NIH's grant standards
  • Congressman Robert Aderholt questioned the funding of IARC
  • IARC defends its methods and transparency
  • Working Group classified red meat and processed meat as carcinogenic
  • Marcel Kuntz criticized the classification for not assessing exposure risks
  • Ed Yong criticized IARC's confusing category system
  • IARC stated its mission is to determine the strength of carcinogenic evidence

Aspartame Classification and Miscellaneous Information

  • IARC classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic in 2023
  • Lead investigator clarified the classification as a call for further research
  • WHO expert committee reaffirmed the safety of consuming aspartame within recommended limits
  • FDA disagreed with IARC's conclusion, citing shortcomings in the studies relied upon
  • No reason to change recommended daily intake level for aspartame
  • Miscellaneous information about IARC's headquarters, publication of Monographs, role in evaluating carcinogenicity, and significance of findings in shaping public health policies

International Agency for Research on Cancer Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph