Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

COC advises the government and government agencies on whether substances are likely to cause cancer.

Role of the group

COC provides independent advice to government departments and agencies on the potential carcinogenicity of chemicals used in pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other products.

Read the latest advice on the risk of cancer from alcohol.

Terms of reference

To advise at the request of:

  • Department of Health
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Department for Transport
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Pesticides Safety Directorate
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
  • Environment Agency
  • Public Health England
  • Home Office
  • Welsh Assembly Government
  • Scottish Executive
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • other government departments and agencies.

To assess and advise on the carcinogenic risk to man of substances that are:

  • used or proposed to be used as food additives, or used in such a way that they might contaminate food through their use or natural occurrence in agriculture, including horticulture and veterinary practice or in the distribution, storage, preparation, processing or packaging of food
  • used or proposed to be used or manufactured or produced in industry, agriculture, food storage or any other workplace
  • used or proposed to be used as household goods or toilet goods and preparations
  • used or proposed to be used as drugs, when advice is requested by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
  • used or proposed to be used or disposed of in such a way as to result in pollution of the environment

To advise on important general principles or new scientific discoveries in connection with carcinogenic risks, to coordinate with other bodies concerned with the assessment of carcinogenic risks and to present recommendations for carcinogenicity testing.

Membership

Current members are:

  • Chair, Professor David Harrison (Professor of Pathology, University of St. Andrews)
  • Derek Bodey (public interest representative)
  • Dr Gill Clare (Consultant in Genetic Toxicology)
  • Dr John Doe (Consultant in Toxicology, Parker Doe Partnership)
  • Dr Raymond Kemp (public interest representative, Adjunct Professor of Risk and Sustainability)
  • Dr David P Lovell (Reader in Medical Statistics, St George’s Medical School, University of London)
  • Professor Neil Pearce (Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  • Dr Christopher J Powell (Vice President Safety Assessment, GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Dr Lesley Rushton (Reader in Occupational Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London)
  • Professor Heather Wallace (Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen)
  • Dr Rosemary H Waring (Honorary Reader in Human Toxicology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham)
  • Professor Saman Warnakulasuriya (Oral Medicine, King’s College, London)

Meetings

Calendar of meetings

  • 12 July 2018
  • 8 November 2018

Additional joint committee meeting

Minutes from previous meetings

Minutes for meetings in 2013 are available on the National archives website

Minutes for meetings before 2013 are on the archived IACOC website, courtesy National Archive.

Open meetings

COC holds open meetings to increase the visibility and transparency of its work. To attend a meeting as an observer, you will need to send an open meetings application form to the secretariat and follow the code of conduct for observers.

COC open meeting application form (MS Word Document, 32.1KB)

COC code of conduct for observers (PDF, 172KB, 1 page)

Publications

COC publishes its advice as statements and guidance statements.

COC publishes a joint annual report with the Committee on Toxicity (COT) and the Committee on Mutagenicity (COM): see annual reports.

Older publications including annual reports are available on the National Archives website.

Secretariat

Dr David Gott (FSA Scientific Secretary) Miss Britta Gadeberg (PHE Scientific Secretary)

Contact

Email: COC@phe.gov.uk

COC Secretariat
Public Health England
Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards
Chilton
Oxfordshire
OX11 0RQ