What is CAREX?
CAREX (CARcinogen EXposure) is a multi-institution research project that combines academic expertise and government resources to generate an evidence-based carcinogen surveillance program for Canada.
CAREX Canada builds on a model established by the Finnish Institute that was created for the European Union's "Europe Against Cancer" program. The European CAREX project developed estimates of the burden of occupational cancer in Europe.
Prior to the late 1990s, Canada had no centralized repository of data on carcinogens. It was unknown what carcinogens people were exposed to, how many people were exposed and where exposures were occurring. In response to this gap and with funding from WorkSafeBC, a group of researchers at the University of British Columbia piloted a project in 2003 that adapted the original Finnish model to generate estimates of carcinogen exposure in BC workplaces.
The Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control recognized the need to identify which carcinogens exist in the Canadian environment, as well as who is exposed to them, and recommended the surveillance of population exposures to occupational and environmental carcinogens. This recommendation led to the formation of CAREX Canada, a national carcinogen surveillance program funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) in 2007.
To date, CAREX Canada has examined the Canadian context to:
- Identify what carcinogens people are exposed to.
- Locate where people are exposed.
- Calculate how many people are exposed.
- Estimate how much of a carcinogen people are exposed to (where data exist to calculate levels).
Over the next 5 years, CAREX Canada will undertake a knowledge mobilization program to make CAREX information available and accessible to Canada's cancer prevention and policy arena. By 2017, CAREX Canada will:
- Train and build capacity among stakeholders to use carcinogen exposure estimates for the purpose of evidence-based cancer prevention policy and practice.
- Design web-based tools to facilitate the use of carcinogen exposure data.
- Expand our current network of stakeholders to include a wider range of users.
- Maintain data credibility and relevancy.
- Evaluate knowledge translation initiatives, activities and data tools.