Each edition of the report is cumulative and consists of substances newly reviewed in addition to those listed in previous editions. For each listed substance, the RoC contains a substance profile, which provides information from cancer studies that support the listing as well as information about potential sources of exposure and current Federal regulations to limit exposures.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) prepares the draft RoC on behalf of the Secretary, HHS. The most recent report, the 12th RoC, was published in 2011.
A background document, summarizing information on human exposure, cancer studies in humans and experimental animals, studies on genetic effects and potential cancer mechanisms, is written for each substance and is used in the review process. Final background documents are available via the RoC web page Documents and Reviews.
Conclusions regarding carcinogenicity in humans or experimental animals are based on expert, scientific judgment, with consideration given to all relevant information (see formal, specific listing criteria).
The RoC is meant to be a science-based, authoritative public health communication tool, not a regulatory document; however, it provides important information to congressional staff, regulatory agencies, and others who can use it to make informed decisions that protect the health of people in the United States. Certain federal and state agencies have chosen to base some regulatory actions on the listing of a substance in the RoC, considering it an authoritative source regarding the identification of carcinogens or potential carcinogens for hazard communication purposes. For example,
Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPAs Criteria for the Evaluation of Permit Applications for Ocean Dumping of Materials (Title 40, Section 227.6(5)) is a regulation which prohibits ocean dumping of materials considered by responsible scientific opinion to contain known or suspect carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens, as other than trace contaminants.
The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to establish hazard communication programs to transmit information on the hazards of chemicals to their employees by means of labels on containers, material safety data sheets, and training programs.
California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 initiative, or Proposition 65, is intended to protect California citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals. Substances identified in the RoC may be placed on the Prop 65 list, thus influencing the labeling of certain products in California and nationwide.