WHEC will be presenting their findings on the strength of the evidence on the carcinogenicity of welding fume.
13:00-14:00 7th December: Assessment of the strength of evidence underpinning the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassification of welding fume as carcinogenic to humans.
Join us via Teams at 13:00 Thursday 7th December.
Register here: https://forms.office.com/e/5HrDx9L40C
Please note: this seminar will be recorded and made available with captions after the event.
There will be a short question and answer session with the WHEC speakers at the end of the seminar.
About this event
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed the data on the carcinogenicity of welding fume. HSE requested the opinion of the Workplace Health Expert Committee (WHEC) who will be presenting their latest findings on the strength of the evidence, particularly on whether a distinction should be made between fumes from different types of metal or different processes. WHEC concluded that all welding fumes cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer, and that it is not possible to identify specific welding processes or base metals that give rise to this risk. UV exposure from arc welding processes causes melanoma in the eye and may also increase the risk of skin cancer.
“The increased risk of lung cancer in welders is well recognised, but until recently it was considered a risk primarily of stainless steel welding, as well as bystander exposures, particularly to asbestos. This WHEC review of recent published scientific evidence has confirmed the conclusions of a recent IARC report that the increased risk of lung cancer is unlikely to be limited to these exposures and that no distinction can be made between different types of welding or the different metals welded in increasing the risk of lung cancer. The important implication is that in implementing measures to control levels of exposure to welding fume no distinction can be made between different welding processes or the metals welded.”
Professor Sir Anthony Newman-Taylor, Chair WHEC.
Speakers: Workplace Health Expert Committee (WHEC)
The development of policy in HSE needs to be informed by the best available contemporary scientific evidence.
HSE formed WHEC to provide independent expert advice on:
- new and emerging workplace health issues
- new and emerging evidence relating to existing workplace health issues
- the quality and relevance of the evidence base on workplace health issues
John Cherrie is Emeritus Professor of Human Health at Heriot Watt University and former Research Director at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. He has been an exposure scientist since 1979, in a wide range of research and teaching. John is a member of the WHEC and the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. He has carried out several research projects on welding fume exposure.
Len Levy OBE is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Cranfield. Prior to this he was Head of Toxicology and Risk Assessment at the UK Medical Research Council’s Institute for Environment and Health at the University of Leicester.
He is an occupational and environmental toxicologist and risk assessor, and holds a PhD in experimental pathology from the Institute of Cancer Research in London. He has held academic positions at the University of Aston and the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Occupational Health, where he was Reader in Occupational Health, continuing his research into the causes and mechanisms of occupational cancer.
Other communications activity (articles etc):
- Cherrie JW, Levy L: Managing Occupational Exposure to Welding Fume: New Evidence Suggests a More Precautionary Approach is Needed. Ann Work Expo Health 2020, 64(1):1-4.