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Are we doing enough to identify and prioritise occupational carcinogens?
  1. Aaron Blair1,
  2. Lin Fritschi2
  1. 1 Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland, USA
  2. 2 School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aaron Blair, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20852, USA; blaira{at}exchange.nih.gov

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This issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine includes three excellent papers on the occupational causes of cancer. Loomis et al 1 use carcinogenicity evaluations completed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to characterise occupational exposures by tumour type, exposure scenarios and changing patterns of identification over time. Using the IARC classifications of occupational cancers, Marant Micallef et al 2 reviewed the literature to assemble the best-available relative risk estimates for each carcinogen–cancer site pair. These were used for an assessment of the total cancer burden from occupational exposures in France and can be used by other burden analyses. Jung et al 3 used the Occupational Disease Surveillance System in Ontario to calculate the relative contribution of occupational factors to the development of lung cancer in Canada. These papers1–3 remind us of the seminal influence that studies of occupational exposures have had on our understanding of the carcinogenic process, the progress in identifying these workplace hazards over the past several decades and their continued importance today.

In 1981 the IARC had classified …

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