Blog: CAREX Canada’s e-RISK tool for policymakers, cancer researchers, and NGOs

CELA has a longstanding and valuable relationship with CAREX Canada, the Vancouver-based national surveillance project engaged in estimating occupational and environmental exposure to carcinogens. Among the on-line tools on the CAREX website is e-RISK, an interactive – and recently updated – tool that lets site users explore the excess cancer risk associated with exposures to carcinogens in the enironment.

CAREX focuses its work on those carcinogens classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as either known or suspected of causing cancer – known as IARC classifications 1, 2A and 2B. Their work can help public policy makers target exposure reduction strategies and create cancer prevention programs.

The CAREX population level measurement of cancer risk is via Lifetime Excess Cancer Risk (LECR). That is, the expected number of additional cancer cases above the national average.

In CELA’s research and advocacy work addressing radon we have benefited from the CAREX LECR estimates. Using radon-specific data and in making comparisons to other carcinogens in indoor air, the CAREX estimates help us underline the need to place a high priority on addressing the risk of radon-induced lung cancer.


CELA participated in an e-RISK testing exercise to help refine the tool and last month, CAREX launched the updated version. In exploring cancer risk using e-RISK site users can review five exposure pathways – outdoor air, indoor air, dust, soil, and drinking water – and over 30 substances, including radon, asbestos, and formaldehyde. Users can compare substances and exposure pathways and the information can support priority setting for exposure reduction efforts.

The site provides a Quick Start Guide and a comprehensive User Manual. Users can also sign up for a webinar on September 21st, 2017 about how to navigate the e-RISK tool, interpret the lifetime excess cancer risk results, and demonstrate possible applications. Register here.

CELA will continue to work with CAREX on radon, asbestos, pesticides, and other topics. We have also helped facilitate contacts and collaboration with our sister clinic IAVGO on a project that is investigating training opportunities for legal and labour professionals about occupational exposure to carcinogens. Results of that work should be available in the fall.