mercredi 30 mai 2007


I am going to participate in the next IARC Monograph, which starts next week. For those of you not in the public health biz, IARC publishes monographs several times a year where they review the scientific literature and give the final word (more or less) on the carcinogenicity of various toxic substances. This monograph is on butadiene (a chemical in rubber and a major byproduct of car exhaust), ethyl bromide, and vinyl halides (including vinyl chloride).

We had a quick pre-meeting yesterday among the IARC staff, and it sounds like it could be a fairly contentious meeting. IARC invites representatives from the relevant industries to observe-- not to comment or participate, just to observe-- and it sounds like they will be looking over our shoulders for any errors or anyone saying, "oh, I haven't had a chance to read that yet," in order to refute the findings. Someone from the American Chemical Society has already sent a letter to the head of the monographs program in order to try and strong-arm him into allowing industry-sponsored documents into the meeting. Which goes against IARC policy-- only peer-reviewed articles may be considered.

Plus at the last meeting on butadiene (9 years ago), there were 2 separate votes, with 2 separate results, on whether it should be a Class 1 or 2 human carcinogen-- meaning whether it is either definitely or only 'probably' carcinogenic to humans-- and people were really angry. This is a serious distinction, as it makes industries liable for diseases in their employees.

Should be an entertaining meeting...

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