Carcinogen classification schemes

Helmut Greim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


To rank the relative hazards of chemicals considered to be potential carcinogens, governmental agencies and other bodies have developed a variety of approaches. All of these approaches are based on essentially the same types of carcinogenicity data but apply different scientific judgments to the data resulting in significant variation among the ranking systems. This article provides a summary of the most commonly used systems and the rationales used to place chemicals into the carcinogen categories of each system. Approaches included are the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of chemicals, the classification systems of the EC Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits, the German MAK Commission, the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the US National Toxicology Program, the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the US American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Toxicology, Fourth Edition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128243152
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioassay
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Dose-response
  • Epidemiology
  • Hazard identification, Risk assessment, Toxicity Testing, The Globally Harmonized System (GHS)


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