PFOA re-evaluated as a definite carcinogen

PFOA re-evaluated as a definite carcinogen

A working group composed of 30 international experts from 11 countries met from November 7 to 14 in Lyon, at the invitation of the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), as part of the Monographs program, in order to study all the scientific literature available on two “eternal pollutants”, PFOA and PFOS.

The classification of PFOS is also evolving

This review led experts to change PFOA’s category. Classified since 2016 as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B), PFOA is now considered “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1). Never previously studied by cancer experts, PFOS is now considered “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). A summary of the final evaluations was published online in The Lancet Oncology. The detailed assessment will be published in 2024 in Volume 135 of the IARC Monographs.

PFOA was reclassified “on the basis of sufficient evidence” of its carcinogenicity in laboratory animals and “strong” mechanistic evidence (for epigenetic alterations and immunosuppression) in exposed individuals,” specifies the IARC .

“The indications were “limited” for human cancer (renal cell carcinoma and testicular cancer) and the mechanistic indications were “strong” for human primary cells and experimental systems (for epigenetic alterations and immunosuppression, as well as for several other key characteristics of carcinogens),” adds the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The classification of PFOS was carried out “on the basis of “strong” mechanistic indications in the test systems, particularly in exposed individuals […]. There were also “limited” indications of its carcinogenicity in laboratory animals and “insufficient” indications in humans,” the IARC said.

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