The best approach is to stay informed by consulting reliable sources of information, such as from the respective health authorities.

Indeed, there are thousands of chemicals that we may be exposed to during our lifetimes. Some may increase the risk of developing cancer. Only some exposures will occur among European Union citizens at a level that causes real concern.

How can any of us know which are the exposures of concern? For instance, there has been concern about exposure to phthalates which are present in plastic-containing products. This issue has received great attention in the mass media; however, exposures to phthalates are not recognized as causes of cancer, as assessed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs Programme. In addition, there are procedures within the European Union that evaluate chemicals or other substances, identify those that do or may cause cancer in humans, and regulate exposure levels. To establish that a substance causes cancer, all scientific evidence needs to be evaluated by experts, and in direct studies. The European Union has taken major initiatives to protect human health and the environment from substances identified as potential causes of cancer.