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New centre to focus research on occupational cancers


Toronto, ON – Canada’s first centre dedicated solely to research in occupational cancers has been established. Called the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, it will be charged with improving knowledge and evidence to help identify, prevent and ultimately eliminate exposures to cancer-causing substances in the workplace.

The centre is a joint undertaking funded by Cancer Care Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and the Canadian Cancer Society’s Ontario Division, and developed in collaboration with the United Steelworkers.

While there is convincing evidence that a number of products, and processes used in the workplace cause cancer, the relationship between cancer and many carcinogens at low levels of exposure is much less clear. And some workplace substances that are suspected of being carcinogenic have never been adequately evaluated. To get a better understanding of the risks of occupational exposures, the centre will develop a comprehensive surveillance strategy and undertake greater research in this area.

The centre is already garnering international attention with the appointment of renowned expert in occupational and environmental epidemiology, Dr Aaron Blair, as interim director. Dr Blair is a world-class leader in occupational studies, and has made a number of outstanding contributions to environmental epidemiology.

“The establishment of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre is a major step in identifying carcinogens in the workplace and initiating preventive actions,” he says.