Rusyn appointed to NRC committees to evaluate human cancer hazard of formaldehyde and styrene

April 04, 2013
An environmental sciences and engineering professor at Gillings School of Global Public Health once again will lend his expertise to a national group of scientists charged with evaluating the validity of research about potentially carcinogenic chemicals.

Dr. Ivan Rusyn

Dr. Ivan Rusyn

Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD, begins service this month as an appointed member of two new committees overseen by The National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC). Both committees will conduct scientific peer reviews of assessments presented in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens, with special focus on literature published after June 10, 2011, the release date of the report. One committee will review the literature on formaldehyde the other, on the chemical styrene.

“I am honored to lend my expertise to the NRC,” Rusyn said. “These two committees will evaluate highly controversial issues concerning cancer hazard classification of formaldehyde and styrene, and the outcome of this review may have broad impacts on future regulatory action on these widely used industrial and environmental pollutants.”

Rusyn currently serves on several NRC committees, including the Committee on Toxicology, established in 1947 and one of the oldest at the NRC, and the Committee on Use of Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions. He also served on NRC committees reviewing integrated risk information system (IRIS) risk assessments of perchloroethylene and formaldehyde.

“Professor Rusyn’s appointment to these committees are further evidence that he is recognized as a national leader in toxicology,” said Michael Aitken, PhD, professor and chair of the Gillings School’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. “The NRC committees charged with independent review of findings of the National Toxicology Program can be influential in the development of federal policies on human carcinogens.”

Rusyn’s research at UNC applies molecular, biochemical, genetic and genomics approaches to understanding how various poisons and pollutants in the environment can damage people’s organs – especially the liver – and potentially cause cancer.


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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.