“Possibly carcinogenic and should be investigated more closely.” For forty years, this has been the conclusion of researchers who have been unsure of whether there is an increased risk of cancer associated with styrene. But now an impartial working group under the auspices of WHO and appointed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has upgraded the warning. Styrene is upgraded from possibly carcinogenic to probably carcinogenic for humans, and the decision is largely based on register-based studies from Aarhus together with new animal evidence.
The new announcement from the World Health Organisation will be published by IARC as a Monograph, authored by 23 handpicked researchers from around the world, including Professor Henrik Kolstad. He is professor in occupational medicine, at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University as well as Aarhus University Hospital. He is pleased with the fact that we in Denmark are able to do something that no other country can:
“The reason for my presence in the working group is our register-based research, which is unique throughout the world, and where the most recent styrene study shows the risk of acute myeloid leukaemia, a rare form of leukemia, is doubled. Out of
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