HSE re-examines link between night shift work and breast cancer

By HSE East Africa | Thursday Sep 28, 2017

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has directed its Workplace Health Expert Committee (WHEC) to re-examine the contentious issue of whether there is a link between night shift work and breast cancer, according to minutes from a meeting that set the panel’s priorities for the coming year.

At the meeting on 23 June, the academics from the scientific and medical communities were asked to evaluate the risk of breast cancer associated with night time shift work, and report back with 12 months of the meeting date.

A major HSE-backed study released in October 2016 concluded that there was “little or no link” between night work and breast cancer.

However, the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, subsequently stood by its 2007 decision that night shift work is a “probable carcinogen”, pending further research.

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