September 24th 2007

Death of Fellow Lorenzo Tomatis (1929-2007)

Message from President Philip Landrigan
Dear Fellows of the Collegium Ramazzini,
Lorenzo Tomatis was a good man. He did much to advance the cause of public health and the health of workers. He was a true follower of Ramazzini.
I had the privilege to serve on two IARC Monograph Working Groups while Lorenzo was Director - the Benzene volume (#29) and the Silica volume (#42). What I remember most about those experiences was Lorenzo's strong sense of responsibility, his recognition that we absolutely had to get the science right, but that we also needed to present our findings in a way that would protect workers. I remember especially in the silica deliberations when the pressure on Lorenzo was fierce to declare silica to be not a human carcinogen. In response, he looked carefully at the data, he saw clearly that silica is indeed a carcinogen, and he resisted the pressure and made the proper declaration. That's what being a follower of Ramazzini is all about.
Dr. Philip Landrigan

Message from Secretary General Morando Soffritti
Dear Fellows,
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of our dear friend and Fellow, Lorenzo Tomatis. Lorenzo, together with Irving Selikoff, Norton Nelson, David Rall and Cesare Maltoni was among the scientists who contributed to create a culture of prevention in the strategy to control cancer. The energy and skill with which he gave life and continuity to the IARC monographs will be remembered as an important milestone for not only the agency, but also for public health.
In 2005, Lorenzo received the Ramazzini Award for his outstanding contribution to the prevention of cancer, in particular the identification of industrial agents. This year will have a moment of silence in Carpi to pay tribute to our colleague, a great scientist, intellectual and friend.
Dr. Morando Soffritti

Lorenzo Tomatis (1929-2007)
Lorenzo Tomatis was a physician and scholar who devoted his life to understanding and preventing human cancer of occupational and environmental origin.
Professor Tomatis obtained his medical degree in 1953 at the University of Turin. He went on to specialize in preventive medicine and occupational health. He served clinically as a pathologist in Turin and then in Chicago.
In 1967, Professor Tomatis embarked formally upon his lifelong quest to understand and conquer the preventable causes of cancer, when he joined the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)as Chief of the Unit of Chemical Carcinogenesis. Professor Tomatis laboured at IARC for nearly 30 years, and for 12 of those years – January 1982 to December 1993 – he served with enormous distinction as Director of IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization. Professor Tomatis expanded the reach and respect of IARC. He stood firmly for prevention. He was tenaciously heroic in the face of strong and well-organized opposition.
Professor Lorenzo Tomatis was a true follower of Ramazzini.
He was a physician and scientist who took his medicine and his science into the public arena. He fought the good fight, and he has enhanced the health of all mankind.
[Text adapted from 2005 Ramazzini Award given to Prof. Tomatis in Bologna, Italy]



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