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5/2/2009 - Effects of Benzene

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) evaluates exposures that may be carcinogenic. Exposures that are thought to be carcinogenic are included in the Reports on Carcinogens, published every 2 years. Each exposure is assigned to one of two categories: "known to be human carcinogens," and "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens." The first category includes substances for which human studies (epidemiology studies and/or experimental studies) provide "sufficient evidence" of carcinogenicity in humans. The second category includes substances for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and/or sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Using this scheme, the National Toxicology Program classifies benzene a "known carcinogen.******************************* The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also evaluates exposures that may be carcinogenic. IARC classifies exposures into 1 of 4 categories: Group 1 exposures are those "known to be carcinogenic to humans," usually based on "sufficient" human evidence, but sometimes based on "sufficient" evidence in experimental animals and "strong" human evidence. Group 2 exposures are divided into 2 categories. Group 2A ("probably carcinogenic to humans") has stronger evidence, and Group 2B ("possibly carcinogenic to humans") has weaker evidence. Group 3 exposures are not considered classifiable, because available evidence is limited or inadequate. Finally, Group 4 exposures are "probably not carcinogenic to humans," based on evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in humans and in experimental animals. IARC rated benzene as "known to be carcinogenic to humans" (Group 1).************************* The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through its Integrated Risk Information System, uses a classification scheme very similar to that of IARC. It classifies exposures into 1 of 5 categories: (A) Known human carcinogen, (B) Probable human carcinogen, (C) Possible human carcinogen, (D) Not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity, and (E) Evidence of noncarcinogenicity for humans. EPA classifies benzene as "a known carcinogen" (Group A).******************************** ACS INFO 103108


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