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26/6/2015

CREAL: IARC Monographs evaluate DDT, lindane, and herbicide 2,4-D

CREAL: IARC Monographs evaluate DDT, lindane, and herbicide 2,4-D


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The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, has evaluated the carcinogenicity of the insecticides gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (lindane) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).

After thoroughly reviewing the latest available scientific literature, a Working Group of 26 experts from 13 countries, chaired by Manolis Kogevinas, Joint Scientific Director and researcher at CREAL, an ISGlobal allied center, convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the insecticide lindane as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). There was sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of lindane for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

“Research on cancer effects of exposure to pesticides in humans has been very difficult. This is first time in the last 30 years that a pesticide (Lindane) is classified as human carcinogen (Group 1 in IARC’s classification), although we know that many of the pesticides used are proven carcinogens in animals.  The evaluation of DDT as a probable carcinogen (Group 2A) is also important. DDT had been among the most frequently used insecticides worldwide. Its use was limited and, in most countries, banned due to the extensive damaging effects on the environment.  These evaluations indicate that there clearly has to be much more effort in investigating and preventing the adverse effects of pesticides in humans”, explains Kogevinas.

A summary of the final evaluations is available online in The Lancet Oncology, and the detailed assessments will be published as Volume 113 of the IARC Monographs.

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