Talk:International Agency for Research on Cancer

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Proposal to move several articles/categories to alternative names[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was take this to Wikipedia:Categories for discussion. Category renaming must take place there as a matter of policy, and will garner a wider audience for this discussion as well. The List articles in question can then be named to match the categories. Aervanath (talk) 17:39, 26 March 2009 (UTC)


The proposed move will not affect the present page, but all articles and categories are related to the present article.

It is my opinion that the current names of the articles and categories

are misleading, since all agents (materials, compounds, environments) could and should be classified by IARC. The classification does not make them "carcinogens". The IARC itself mentions[1]:

In the following lists, the agents are classified as to their carcinogenic hazard to humans in accordance with the Preamble to the IARC Monographs.

According to this text, we should have articles named:

List of agents classified from IARC to Group xxx as to their carcinogenic hazard to humans. Instead, I propose the simpler title:

List of IARC Group xx agents.

Similarly for categories, my proposal is:

Category:IARC Group xx agents

Any alternative proposals are welcome. The present proposal is duplicated is all articles and categories, but if you have any comment, please leave a comment here. --FocalPoint (talk) 13:24, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I hereby copy a comment from Talk:List of IARC Group 3 carcinogens which was actually the trigger for this proposal:

This is an inconsistent page title - the text says the members of the class are not classifiable. The title says they are carcinogens. Midgley 04:47, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

--FocalPoint (talk) 13:35, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Following lack of reaction, I proceed to the modifications proposed.--FocalPoint (talk) 19:29, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

These are not agents of the IARC! your move are being reversed until you engage in serious discussion. Physchim62 (talk) 19:43, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

I waited for a week before acting. Please proceed to alternative proposals / objections to discuss.--FocalPoint (talk) 19:54, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Following Physchim62's objection, I posted the issue at WP:RM and WT:CHEM. Hopefully someone will appear and comment.--FocalPoint (talk) 20:09, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Comment: FocalPoint, thank you for being bold, but "the trigger" for your proposal appears to apply inconsistently across the class. (Unless I am missing something.) From Group 1: "The agent (mixture) is carcinogenic to humans. The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are carcinogenic to humans." -Shootbamboo (talk) 02:48, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

My point is that the existing article and category names are misleading, since the word carginogens is iterated in all groups. Hoping that everybody would agree to that, I made a proposal which as you suggest is far from perfect, however, it has the following positive points:

  • it can uniformly applied to all classifications
  • it does not engage in characterizations.

Shootbamboo is right, Group 1 agents are carcinogens. But check everything else. Not even for the one material in Category 4, the wording is not absolute. My opinion is that we would be misleading if we would replace the actual characterization with a much shortened version, fit for a category or article title.

Furthermore, I do not claim that the proposal I made is the best. I firmly believe that it is better than the current, misleading situation and that it is closer to WP:NPV. If we can make it better, or if someone can think of a better alternative solution, please submit your proposals. My opinion is that any solution other than the present situation, suboptimal as it may be, will be much much better and closer to the principles of wikipedia.--FocalPoint (talk) 07:31, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

The IARC describes "agents". I agree with FocalPoint. Axl ¤ [Talk] 10:04, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

"Agents" is simply wrong for several items on these lists, as the lists include mixtures and exposure circumstances. The proposed titles give no clues that the lists have been evaluated for carcinogenicity: "List of IARC Group 1 agents" might just as well be a list of particularly notable employees, for example! I can see that there is a problem with Group 4, which only contains one substance anyway: perhaps that list could be merged into this article and the category deleted. However, the question remains: if we don't use the IARC evaluations of carcinogenicity, whose evaluations do we use? What do we do when there are conflicting evaluations? These lists and categories are a solution to the problem of maintaining a neutral point of view on what is often a controversial topic. Physchim62 (talk) 11:06, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I see both points: that the current titles suggest carcinogenicity for compounds that are not known to be carcinogens as well as the need to not obscure possible carcinogenic effects. What about something like this:

and:

That the classification applies to humans only can be explained in the texts of these pages. "Agent" is a very broad term that includes non-chemical causes such as UV light, implants, viruses, and parasites (see wiktionary:agent: "3. An active power or cause; that which has the power to produce an effect; as, a physical, chemical, or medicinal agent; as, heat is a powerful agent."). Cacycle (talk) 21:47, 21 March 2009 (UTC)


As a first preference I have the original proposal. As a second preference, I will modify Cacycle's proposal trying to be as close to IARC terminology as possible:

and:

Still, I believe that the first proposal is more adequate. --FocalPoint (talk) 08:28, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Support Cacycle's proposal. These titles are somewhat simpler than the ones from the second proposal. --ἀνυπόδητος (talk) 15:42, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

GHS approach for categories[edit]

Another approach to the category structure would be to abandon the IARC criteria altogether and switch to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). This would give three categories:

This means that the category names specify that were are talking in terms of human carcinogenicity. The use of "carcinogens" in the titles of lists of of the IARC groups is not incorrect: limonene, for example, is carcinogenic if you're a male rat but not if you're a human (or even a female rat). Physchim62 (talk) 08:43, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Further discussion[edit]

  • Oppose automatic moving of list articles to match the CfD result: lists and categories serves separate purposes. Physchim62 (talk) 18:04, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

If we think that the category names are adequate, we might use them. If not, I do not see any proposal for "automatic moving" of the list articles.--FocalPoint (talk) 19:36, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi Physchim, I see your proposal for the GHS categorization. I believe that it is an entirely different issue from the one we are dicussing here. --FocalPoint (talk) 19:43, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

  • In which case, let's talk about the list articles alone. We might need to talk about classification of carcinogens in general as well, the problems that it causes but the necessity of doing it. I'm currently trying to get the necessary (general) articles up to standard so that they can support a GHS classification – I'm not there yet, because it's a big job! For me, the problem is that someone will always say that "compound X is a carcinogen" and someone else will always say that "compound X has never been shown to cause cancer". Compound X is this example can go far beyond the list of substances evaluated by the IARC, believe me! A simple renaming of the pages is not a solution to the fundamental problem: how do we decide if a substance, agent, mixture or exposure circumstance is to be labeled as "carcinogenic" or not? Physchim62 (talk) 20:39, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

This is exactly my point. I believe that it is not a decision for wikipedians to take. We report only IARC Group 2B. Whoever is interested, he can form his own opinion from the description in Group 2B. We are thus detaching ourselves from the problem as much as possible.....but giving information as we should.--FocalPoint (talk) 22:55, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal posted at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2009 March 27.--FocalPoint (talk) 13:46, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Rebooting the renaming discussion[edit]

  • Reviewing the prior discussions on this, it appears that the substantive question and process issues were to some extent mired together, leading to no consensus, hence to keep. My sense is also that this is a result no one really wanted, so I'd like to re-examine the question. I would suggest we do that right here, form a proposal, then advance that proposal through whatever process is deemed necessary once we come to agreement.
  • At issue is the inaccurate implication from the existing names "List of IARC Group xx carcinogens" (Groups 1 2A 2B 3) and the corresponding categories Category:IARC Group 1 carcinogens (2A, 2B, 3) that the listed agents are all established as carcinogens.
  • Possible alternative names:
1. "List of IARC Group xx carcinogens" and "Category:IARC Group xx carcinogens" (status quo)
2. "List of IARC Group xx agents" and "Category:IARC Group xx agents"
3. "List of agents in IARC Group xx" and "Category:Agents in IARC Group xx"
4. "List of agents with IARC Group xx evidence of carcinogenicity" and "Category:Agents with IARC Group xx evidence of carcinogenicity"
5. "IARC Group xx" and "Category:IARC Group xx" (list class articles don't have to be called "List of")
  • Categorization:
    • Category pages can and should show the criteria for inclusion on the category page. For these categories this is simple: "Articles in this category are about agents that are listed in the IARC's corresponding group, according to the IARC's current published list."
    • The articles in a given cateory should also contain a statement explaining that inclusion is in accordance with (a referenced) IARC monograph. This should be uncontroversial and helpful in reducing confusion. A common template for this purpose might be useful.
    • The category pages should also link to the related categories and the main article on the topic. In this case each of the Group xx categories would link to each of the others and to the particular monographs.
    • Each of the Group categories should be subcategories of a larger Category:IARC listed agents.

LeadSongDog come howl! 16:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Explanation of each group:
    • Should the definition of and the distinction between the groups be stated on each list and category page, or only on one linked page?

LeadSongDog come howl! 16:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for notifying me. Too many questions together, but let us take the easiest thing first:

I find best your proposal for renaming to "IARC Group xx". The articles contain a list of agents, however, they are about each IARC Group classification and not only a list.
I find obviously correct the need for showing the criteria for inclusion on the category page. I will proceed now.

The rest I believe we should discuss after resolving the first proposal for renaming the articles. --FocalPoint (talk) 10:45, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

I prefer proposal number 2. Proposal numbers 5 & 3 are also acceptable. Number 1 is the worst. Axl ¤ [Talk] 16:14, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
I thought Focal Point's 08:28, 22 March 2009 (UTC) proposal was good. Shootbamboo (talk) 01:43, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Hoping this discussion is not dead...I also agree with proposal #2; just because the carcinogenicity of any agent has been assessed does not make the agent a carcinogen. The title of this "IARC Group 2B..." page is misleading. 24.23.251.120 (talk) 00:21, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

This discussion has gone nowhere in three years, so I'm going to edit the titles in accordance with proposal #2 above. I'm also involved with writing to Electrosensitivity UK; if you look at the third paragraph of this page of theirs: http://www.es-uk.info/about/index.asp you can see that they're classifying electromagnetic fields as "a Class 2B carcinogen", no ifs or buts about it. I'll be complaining to them that they're likely to encourage hypochondria; I don't want them writing back "but even Wikipedia agrees that EM fields are carcinogenic". This matters; a friend of mine has recently convinced herself that cellphones, stereos and monitor screens are making her ill. Clark42 (talk) 19:43, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Sure, go ahead with the edit. Please though, be cautious about mingling on- and off-wiki activities. It can be problematic for some people. LeadSongDog come howl! 20:38, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Update: the system won't let me change the title (ie. move the page), because it was done once and then undone, so it leads to a double-redirect. Could someone with more experience do it, or tell me how? It's highly misleading as it is. Clark42 (talk) 00:37, 16 November 2012 (UTC)