Incidence and mortality of adult solid neoplasms increase according to a power function of age, a fact that has been intepreted as a consequence of life-time exposure to carcinogens.

The relevance of environmental exposures (in a broad sense) to explain the occurrence of human malignancies has been widely acknowledged and applies also to haemolymphopoietic cancers and to childhood neoplasms.

Despite important progress in cancer survival, human tumours remain highly lethal. Primary prevention is therefore the main strategy to tackle overall cancer mortality.

Our ability to identify agents with carcinogenic properties is the cornerstone to detect their presence in the work and life environment, in foods etc., and then to develop consistent preventive interventions – even if the relationship between cancer risk and some circumstances or factors, like diet, is more complex than it could be suspected solely on the basis of the distribution of known carcinogens.

In this section links to some of the main classifications of carcinogenic agents may be found, such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs, the most recent Report on Carcinogens from the US – National Toxicology Program and the European classification of carcinogens, that may be accessed through the "Dangerous Substances" data bank operated by the research unit of the Istituto Nazionale per l'Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro (INAIL), formerly Istituto Superiore per la Prevenzione e la Sicurezza sul Lavoro (ISPESL).

We also provided access to the results of some of our projects aiming to estimate the number of workers exposed to carcinogens (CAREX) and to identify economic activities and professions associated with an increased risk for lung cancer (we could not provide the original articles for download, as their copyright belongs to publishers, but their text, tables and figures could be made available in document format).