In DepthEpidemiology

High-profile cancer reviews trigger controversy

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Science  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1504-1505
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6293.1504

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On 15 June, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), released a statement concluding there isn't enough evidence to say that coffee causes cancer, but that very hot beverages are probably carcinogenic. IARC, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, has released verdicts on the human carcinogenicity of almost a thousand products and environmental factors since 1972, from plutonium and shift work to coffee and processed meat. The reviews, produced primarily for regulatory agencies, have come under fire from scientists who say that they are confusing and of little help to consumers, and that IARC's focus on cancer hazards instead of risks is outdated.