publication date: Aug. 3, 2018
House committee defoliates NIH funding for WHO program that declares weedkiller Roundup a carcinogen
By Jordan Williams
The House Committee on Appropriations has withheld funding for the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer—which receives about $2 million from the United States per year—because of controversy over the agency’s label for glyphosate, a chemical commonly used in weedkillers.
In a March 2015 review of five agents—four insecticides and glyphosate—IARC labeled the weedkiller as “probably carcinogenic in humans,” based on limited evidence in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and “sufficient evidence” in animals.
IARC conducted the review via its Monographs Programme, which is designed to identify environmental factors that can increase the risk of cancer. The program’s evaluations are watched by health agencies worldwide.
IARC’s conclusions on glyphosate, made by a working group of 17 scientists from 11 countries, ran counter to guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Food Safety Authority. EPA said glyphosate has “low toxicity to humans,” and an EFSA study in November 2015 found glyphosate “unlikely to be carcinogenic.”
The IARC working group was chaired by Aaron Blair, a retired NCI epidemiologist.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It was first discovered by a Swiss chemist in 1950, and then independently discovered in the U.S. in 1970 by John Franz, a chemist at Monsanto. Four years later, Monsanto commercialized Roundup, a product in which glyphosate is the active ingredient. Roundup is the most widely used weedkiller in the U.S. today.
In November 2017, NIH published the latest version of The Agricultural Health Study, a cohort study … Continue reading House committee defoliates NIH funding for WHO program that declares weedkiller Roundup a carcinogen
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