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Adverse health effect

A change in body function or cell structure that might lead to disease or health problems. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Alternating current & Direct current

Alternating Current (AC) is a type of electrical current, in which the direction of the flow of electrons switches back and forth at regular intervals or cycles. Current flowing in power lines and normal household electricity that comes from a wall outlet is alternating current. The standard current used in the U.S. is 60 cycles per second (i.e. a frequency of 60 Hz); in Europe and most other parts of the world it is 50 cycles per second (i.e. a frequency of 50 Hz.).

Direct current (DC) is electrical current which flows consistently in one direction. The current that flows in a flashlight or another appliance running on batteries is direct current.

One advantage of alternating current is that it is relatively cheap to change the voltage of the current. Furthermore, the inevitable loss of energy that occurs when current is carried over long distances is far smaller with alternating current than with direct current. (Source: GreenFacts)

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American Council on Science and Health

"The American Council on Science and Health, Inc. (ACSH) is a consumer education consortium concerned with issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, the environment and health. ACSH is an independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.

The nucleus of ACSH is a board of 350 physicians, scientists and policy advisors - experts in a wide variety of fields-who review the Council's reports and participate in ACSH seminars, press conferences, media communications and other educational activities." (Source: ACSH website )

Background level(s)

Levels of chemical or physical agents that are normally found in the environment.

Two types of background levels may exist for chemical substances or physical agents: (a) Naturally occurring levels: ambient concentrations of substances or agents present in the environment, without human influence; (b) Anthropogenic levels: Concentrations of substances or agents present in the environment due to human-made, non-site sources (e.g., automobiles, industries). (Source: US EPA Glossary of IRIS Terms  )

Bias

Deviation of results or inferences from the truth, or processes leading to such systematic deviation. Any trend in the collection, analysis, interpretation, publication, or review of data that can lead to conclusions that are systematically different from the truth. (Source: CDC Glossary of Epidemiologic Terms  )

Cancer

Any one of a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and have the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby tissues and other parts of the body (malignancy). (Source: GreenFacts )

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Carcinogen

A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )

Cell

The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit that can exist as an independent living system. There are many different types of cells in complex organisms such as humans, each with specific characteristics. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Charge

An electric charge (q or Q) is the quantity of unbalanced electricity in an object (either positive or negative). It is interpreted as an excess or deficiency of electrons. Matter that possesses a charge is influenced by and produces electromagnetic fields.

Electrons, by convention have an elementary charge of -1. Ions are either positively or negatively charged. The unit of measurement of the charge of an object is the coulomb, which represents 6.24 x 1018 elementary charges. (Source: GreenFacts)

Chromosome

One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

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Circulatory system

The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system. (Source: NCI Dictionary of cancer terms  )

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DG Health and Consumers

"The Health and Consumers DG (formally known as Health and Consumer Protection DG) is one of 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services which make up the European Commission."

The mission statement of the Health and Consumers DG is: "to promote a better quality of life by ensuring a high level of protection of consumers' health, safety and economic interests as well as of public health"

"This overall goal is addressed through legislative and non-legislative actions in three inter-related policy areas: 1. Consumer policy (...), 2. Public Health (...), 3. Food safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health (...)". (Source: DG Health and Consumers website  )

DNA

DNA constitutes the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary  )

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Electric current

The electrical current is a physical phenomenon caused by the displacement of electrons or ions that induce electric fields. By convention, current is considered to be a flux of positive charges.

The intensity of the current is the quantity of charge which passes in a conductor per unit of time. The intensity of the current is measured in Amperes (A). (Source: Belgian BioElectroMagnetic Group Dictionary   )

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Electric field

An electric field is an invisible force field created by the attraction and repulsion of electrical charges (the cause of electric flow), and is measured in Volts per meter (V/m).

The intensity of the electric field decreases with distance from the field source.

A static electric field (also referred to as electrostatic field) is an electric field that does not vary with time (frequency of 0 Hz). Static electric fields are created by electrical charges that are fixed in space. They are different from fields that change over time, such as electromagnetic fields generated by appliances using alternating current (AC) or by cell phones etc. (Source: GreenFacts )

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Electromagnetic fields (EMF)

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are a combination of invisible electric and magnetic fields of force. They occur both naturally and due to human activity. (Source: GreenFacts)

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EurActiv.com

EurActiv is the leading internet portal fully dedicated to European public affairs. It brings together daily EU news, weekly "Update" e-mails, in-depth analysis of selected policy topics, and a directory of 10,000 names of names of people and organizations acting on the EU level, the "Guide". All content is free of charge.

EurActiv aims to "facilitate efficiency and transparency (...) by providing news monitoring, policy positions, discussion forums and contacts on selected EU affairs topics, complementing the existing institutional websites."

(Source: EurActiv website )

European Commission

"The European Commission (EC) embodies and upholds the general interest of the [European] Union and is the driving force in the Union's institutional system. Its four main roles are to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council, to administer and implement Community policies, to enforce Community law (jointly with the Court of Justice) and to negotiate international agreements, mainly those relating to trade and cooperation."

The Commission's staff is organised into 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services, such as the Environment DG and the Research DG. (Source: EC website  )

European Commission Fisheries and Maritime Affairs DG

The Research DG is one of 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services which make up the European Commission (EC). Its mission is:"to develop the European Union’s policy in the field of research and technological development and thereby contribute to the international competitiveness of European industry; to coordinate European research activities with those carried out at the level of the Member States; to support the Union’s policies in other fields such as environment, health, energy, regional development etc; to promote a better understanding of the role of science in modern societies and stimulate a public debate about research-related issues at European level."

See also its Environment & Health website http://ec.europa.eu/comm/research/quality-of-life/ka4/index_en.html  (Source: Research DG website )

European Commission Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment

The Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) was created by the European Commission to address "scientific and technical questions relating to examination of the toxicity and ecotoxicity of chemical, biochemical and biological compounds whose use may have harmful consequences for human health and the environment." (Source: CSTEE website )

Exposure

Contact of the cells of an organism with a substance, micro-organism or radiation. In the case of humans, this may involve contact with a substance or agent by swallowing, breathing, or through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short-term [acute exposure], of intermediate duration, or long-term [chronic exposure].

Exposure can be divided into external and internal.

External exposure refers to the whole dose to which an organism is exposed.

Internal exposure refers only to that fraction of the initial chemical dose that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via systemic circulation. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Frequency

Frequency is the measurement of the number of times that a repeated event occurs per unit of time.

The frequency of wave-like patterns including sound, electromagnetic waves (such as radio or light), electrical signals, or other waves, expresses the number of cycles of the repetitive waveform per second.

In SI units, the result is measured in Hertz (Hz), named after the German physicist, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. 1 Hz means one cycle (or wave) per second.

Frequency has an inverse relationship to the concept of wavelength (the distance between two peeks) such that the frequency is equal to the velocity divided by the wavelength. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Genotoxic

Toxic (damaging) to DNA. Substances that are genotoxic may bind directly to DNA or act indirectly leading to DNA damage by affecting enzymes involved in DNA replication, thereby causing mutations which may or may not lead to cancer or birth defects (inheritable damage). Genotoxic substances are not necessarily carcinogenic. (Source: GreenFacts)

Immune system

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders. (Source: NIAID Immune System   )

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International Agency for Research on Cancer

"The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

IARC's mission is to coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and to develop scientific strategies for cancer control. The Agency is involved in both epidemiological and laboratory research and disseminates scientific information through publications, meetings, courses, and fellowships."

It has collaborated to and published many highly recognized scientific publications.

Most publications are availaible from the webpage IARC Monographs Programme on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to humans , "The IARC Monographs series publishes authoritative independent assessments by international experts of the carcinogenic risks posed to humans by a variety of agents, mixtures and exposures."

IARC distinguishes between four groups of compounds or physical factors based on the existing scientific evidence for carcinogenicity: Standard IARC classification (Source: IARC website )

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection

"ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. It is a body of independent scientific experts consisting of a main Commission of 14 members, 4 Scientific Standing Committees covering Epidemiology, Biology, Dosimetry and Optical Radiation and a number of consulting members. This expertise is brought to bear on addressing the important issues of possible adverse effects on human health of exposure to non-ionising radiation.

ICNIRP's principal aim is to disseminate information and advice on the potential health hazards of exposure to non-ionizing radiation to everyone with an interest in the subject. ICNIRP's information and advice covers all of the non-ionizing radiations including, the optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible and infrared - and lasers), static and time-varying electric and magnetic fields and radiofrequency (including microwave) radiation, and ultrasound. Much of the information that ICNIRP provides is published in the form of scientific reviews and reports and the proceedings of scientific meetings. The results of these reviews combined with risk assessments carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization, WHO, result in the publication by ICNIRP of Exposure Guidelines. Examples of these are guidelines limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields, to laser radiation, to ultraviolet radiation, to incoherent optical radiation and to ultrasound."

Leukaemia

Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, which makes blood cells (red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body, white blood cells that fight disease and infection, platelets that help to stop bleeding when it starts).

In people with leukaemia, the bone marrow produces large numbers of abnormal white blood cells and not enough normal red blood cells.

Leukaemia cases represent less than 4% of all cancer cases in adults but are the most common form of cancer in children.

There are different types of leukaemia (e.g. acute, chornic, myeloid and lymphoid leukaemia). (Source: GreenFacts )

Magnetic field

A magnetic field is an invisible force field created by a magnet or as a consequence of the movement of electric charges (flow of electricity).

The magnitude (intensity) of a magnetic field is usually measured Tesla (T or in mT), but it can also be measured in Gauss (G).

The intensity of the field decreases with distance from the field source. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone formed by the pineal gland (which is located in the center of the brain). Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. Melatonin is also available in some countries as a drug or a dietary supplement which acts against insomnia and jet-lag. (Source: GreenFacts)

Mutagen

A substance or physical agent that causes mutations, i.e. permanently alters the DNA of a cell. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Mutation

Any permanent change in the DNA of a cell.

Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment.

Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited.

Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary   )

Pregnancy outcomes

Results of conception and ensuing pregnancy, such as sex ratio, birth weight, spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, lower birth weight, preterm delivery or stillbirth. (Source: GreenFacts)

Risk

The probability that something will cause injury or harm. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) was set up in 2004 by the European Commission to provide the Commission with unambiguous scientific advice on the safety of a series of issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of the risks, such as new technologies, medical devices, etc.

The SCENIHR advice is intended to enable risk managers to take the adequate and required actions in order to guarantee consumer safety or public health.

The SCENIHR addresses questions concerning emerging or newly-identified risks and on broad, complex or multi-disciplinary issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of risks to consumer safety or public health and related issues not covered by other Community risk- assessment bodies.

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks is composed of a maximum of 13 members, but for any specific question may enlist the support of up to six associated members selected on the basis of their expertise. There is also a reserve list made up of candidates found suitable for a position in a Scientific Committee but not appointed. The members of the SCENIHR are appointed on the basis of their skills and experience in the fields in question, and consistent with this a geographical distribution that reflects the diversity of scientific problems and approaches in the European Union (EU). The experts' term of office is three years and is renewable for a maximum of three consecutive times. In agreement with the Commission, the Scientific Committees may turn to specialised external experts.

The SCENIHR complies with the principles of independence, transparency and confidentiality. The members therefore make a declaration of commitment to act in the public interest and a declaration of interests; requests for opinions, agendas, minutes and opinions are published; work and publications are done with regard to the need for commercial confidentiality. (Source: SCENIHR pages  )

Scientific Consensus

The Scientific Consensus represents the position generally agreed upon at a given time by most scientists specialized in a given field. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Standard IARC classification

Compounds or physical factors assessed by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) are classified in four groups based on the existing scientific evidence for carcinogenicity.

Group 1: "Carcinogenic to humans" There is enough evidence to conclude that it can cause cancer in humans.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 2A: "Probably carcinogenic to humans" There is strong evidence that it can cause cancer in humans, but at present it is not conclusive.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 2B: "Possibly carcinogenic to humans" There is some evidence that it can cause cancer in humans but at present it is far from conclusive.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 3: "Unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans" There is no evidence at present that it causes cancer in humans.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 4: "Probably not carcinogenic to humans" There is strong evidence that it does not cause cancer in humans.
IARC definition and compound listed

Standard IARC classification categorization descriptions

Group 1: "The agent (mixture) is carcinogenic to humans . The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are carcinogenic to humans."

"This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Exceptionally, an agent (mixture) may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent (mixture) acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity."

Examples include asbestos, benzene and ionizing radiation.
List of agents evaluated as group 1 to date. 

Group 2 (A and B): "This category includes agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which, at one extreme, the degree of evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is almost sufficient, as well as those for which, at the other extreme, there are no human data but for which there is evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances are assigned to either group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) or group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) on the basis of epidemiological and experimental evidence of carcinogenicity and other relevant data."

Group 2A: "The agent (mixture) is probably carcinogenic to humans . The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are probably carcinogenic to humans."

"This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. In some cases, an agent (mixture) may be classified in this category when there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence that the carcinogenesis is mediated by a mechanism that also operates in humans. Exceptionally, an agent, mixture or exposure circumstance may be classified in this category solely on the basis of limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans."

Examples include diesel engine exhaust, Formaldehyde and PCBs.
List of agents evaluated as group 2A to date. 

Group 2B: "The agent (mixture) is possibly carcinogenic to humans. "

"The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are possibly carcinogenic to humans.

This category is used for agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. It may also be used when there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. In some instances, an agent, mixture or exposure circumstance for which there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but limited evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals together with supporting evidence from other relevant data may be placed in this group."

Examples include glass wool, styrene and gasoline exhaust.
List of agents evaluated as group 2B to date. 

Group 3: "The agent (mixture) is unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans. "

"This category is used most commonly for agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans and inadequate or limited in experimental animals. Exceptionally, agents (mixtures) for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans but sufficient in experimental animals may be placed in this category when there is strong evidence that the mechanism of carcinogenicity in experimental animals does not operate in humans.

Agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances that do not fall into any other group are also placed in this category."

Examples include anthracene, caffeine and fluorescent lighting.
List of agents evaluated as group 3 to date. 

Group 4: "The agent (mixture) is probably not carcinogenic to humans."

"This category is used for agents or mixtures for which there is evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in humans and in experimental animals. In some instances, agents or mixtures for which there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, consistently and strongly supported by a broad range of other relevant data, may be classified in this group."

The only agent in that group is: Caprolactam (see Group 4 to date ) (Source: IUPAC Glossary of Terms Used in Toxicology Classification of carcinogenicity  )

Standard IARC degrees of evidence of carcinogenicity

which are the basis for the Standard IARC Classification

Carcinogenicity in humans

Sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity:

The Working Group considers that a causal relationship has been established between exposure to the agent, mixture or exposure circumstance and human cancer. That is, a positive relationship has been observed between the exposure and cancer in studies in which chance, bias and confounding could be ruled out with reasonable confidence.

Limited evidence of carcinogenicity:

A positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent, mixture or exposure circumstance and cancer for which a causal interpretation is considered by the Working Group to be credible, but chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence.

Inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity:

The available studies are of insufficient quality, consistency or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of a causal association between exposure and cancer, or no data on cancer in humans are available.

Evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity:

There are several adequate studies covering the full range of levels of exposure that human beings are known to encounter, which are mutually consistent in not showing a positive association between exposure to the agent, mixture or exposure circumstance and any studied cancer at any observed level of exposure. A conclusion of 'evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity' is inevitably limited to the cancer sites, conditions and levels of exposure and length of observation covered by the available studies. In addition, the possibility of a very small risk at the levels of exposure studied can never be excluded.

In some instances, the above categories may be used to classify the degree of evidence related to carcinogenicity in specific organs or tissues.

Carcinogenicity in experimental animals

Sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity:

The Working Group considers that a causal relationship has been established between the agent or mixture and an increased incidence of malignant neoplasms or of an appropriate combination of benign and malignant neoplasms in (a) two or more species of animals or (b) in two or more independent studies in one species carried out at different times or in different laboratories or under different protocols.

Exceptionally, a single study in one species might be considered to provide sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity when malignant neoplasms occur to an unusual degree with regard to incidence, site, type of tumour or age at onset.

Limited evidence of carcinogenicity:

The data suggest a carcinogenic effect but are limited for making a definitive evaluation because, e.g. (a) the evidence of carcinogenicity is restricted to a single experiment; or (b) there are unresolved questions regarding the adequacy of the design, conduct or interpretation of the study; or (c) the agent or mixture increases the incidence only of benign neoplasms or lesions of uncertain neoplastic potential, or of certain neoplasms which may occur spontaneously in high incidences in certain strains.

Inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity:

The studies cannot be interpreted as showing either the presence or absence of a carcinogenic effect because of major qualitative or quantitative limitations, or no data on cancer in experimental animals are available.

Evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity:

Adequate studies involving at least two species are available which show that, within the limits of the tests used, the agent or mixture is not carcinogenic. A conclusion of evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity is inevitably limited to the species, tumour sites and levels of exposure studied. (Source: IARC Preamble to the IARC Monographs  )

Tumour

An abnormal mass of tissue resulting from uncontrolled and excessive cell division.

Tumours can be either benign (localised, without the invasion of other tissues) or malignant (showing progressive invasion of other tissues). (Source: GreenFacts)

Unit prefixes of the International System of Units (SI)

In order to keep figures short and presentable, SI prefixes are often attached to units such as m (meter) or g (gram).

For example, a substance weighing 0.000 000 001 g may be described more simply as 1 ng (nanogram) or as 1000 pg (picograms).

Common prefixes of the International System of Units (SI) are:

p pico = 1 000 000 000 000th = 10-12
n nano = 1 000 000 000th = 10-9
µ micro = 1 000 000th = 10-6
m milli = 1 000th = 10-3
no prefix = 1
k kilo = 1 000 = 103
M Mega = 1 000 000 = 106
G Giga = 1 000 000 000 = 109
T Tera = 1 000 000 000 000 = 1012
US Department of Labor

"The US Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support." (Source: US DOL website )

US Medical College of Wisconsin

"(...) the US Medical College of Wisconsin is a private, academic institution dedicated to leadership and excellence in:

Education - Teaching the physicians and scientists of tomorrow while enhancing the skills of today's health professionals.

Research - Creating new knowledge in basic and clinical science through biomedical, behavioral and health services research.

Patient care - Caring humanely and expertly for patients and providing leadership in health services.

Service - Forging local, regional, national and global partnerships in education, health care and research for the betterment of human health." (Source: US MCW website )

US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

The US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is one of 27 Institutes and Centers  of the National Institute of Health (NIH) , which is a component of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) .

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences tries to reduce human illness from environmental causes by understanding environmental factors, individual susceptibility and age.

It conducts biomedical research programs, prevention and intervention efforts, and education.

It has collaborated to and published many highly recognized scientific publication. (Source: NIEHS website )

World Health Organization

"The World Health Organization  (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts produce health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research. Through WHO, governments can jointly tackle global health problems and improve people’s well-being.

193 countries and two associate members are WHO’s membership. They meet every year at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to set policy for the Organization, approve the Organization’s budget, and every five years, to appoint the Director-General. Their work is supported by the 34-member Executive Board, which is elected by the Health Assembly. Six regional committees focus on health matters of a regional nature."

WHO's scientific publications are widely recognized as a reference source.

The WHO has a number of regional offices which address the specific issues of those regions.

WHO World Regional Offices
  WHO African Region  (46 countries)
  WHO European Region  (53 countries)
  WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region  (21 countries)
  WHO Region of the Americas  (35 countries)
  WHO South-East Asia Region  (11 countries)
  WHO Western Pacific Region  (27 countries)

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