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The letter from Drs Huff and Infante1 provides an opportunity to correct some misperceptions that have developed about the IARC Monographs. First, Huff and Infante call on IARC to make “appropriate adjustments” and “properly amend” the summaries for formaldehyde and other monographs. It is important to understand that IARC does not change summaries, which are developed by independent working groups of scientists who conducted the original research. This principle is meant to ensure confidence that IARC evaluations are free from the pressures that interested parties often use to influence public agencies.
A second point concerns the temporal relationship between the formaldehyde monograph and IARC’s amended guidelines (the preamble). The formaldehyde working group met and developed its conclusions in June 2004. The preamble amendment process2 began in March 2005 and IARC posted the …
Competing interests: None.