Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Investigating the Influence of Cancer Hazard Identification on Public Health Policy

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A recently proposed approach aims to investigate whether formally identifying a substance as a human carcinogen may prompt regulatory action to decrease exposure to carcinogens and enhance public health. This approach also takes into consideration the broader implications of cancer hazard identification on policy decision-making, such as identifying gaps and offering recommendations.

Cancer hazard identification is pivotal to preventive actions, yet its influence on health-protective regulations is not fully understood. Even though the health and economic benefits of regulatory actions have been studied, no known efforts have been made to specifically study the impact of cancer hazard identification on policy decisions in the United States.

The approach used the Report on Carcinogens (RoC) as a test case and systematically searched U.S. federal and state databases for regulation notices mentioning the RoC between 1995 and 2023. Information on the regulated carcinogens, the regulatory agency, the regulatory purpose, the economic sector exposure sources, and the analyzed public health benefits and costs were extracted for each regulation. The data was visualized using a publicly available, web-based interactive tool.

Public Health

Utilizing Cancer Hazard Evaluations in Shaping Public Health Policies

U.S. regulatory agencies have been utilizing cancer hazard evaluations, such as the RoC, for years to influence public health policy actions aimed at preventing or mitigating cancer risks. Specifically, non-regulatory cancer hazard assessments have been used to prioritize chemical evaluations, support regulatory-based assessments, and instigate regulatory action. This approach demonstrated the feasibility, informativeness, and necessity of assessing the influence of cancer hazard identification on science-based public health policies.

The study represents an initial step in this direction, and it is recommended to expand this approach to other cancer and non-cancer hazard assessments. Such expansion could ultimately enhance our understanding of the impact of hazard classifications on policymaking.

 

Original Article DOI: 10.1289/EHP12681

Original title: An Approach to Assessing the Influence of Environmental and Occupational Cancer Hazard Identification on Policy Decision-Making

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