#097 – Glyphosate Probably Doesn’t Cause Cancer

Myles and James review the recent report from the WHO’s IARC devision on glyphosate. In May 2015 the IARC released a press release detailing their findings on 5 herbicides, one being glyphosate, the active ingredient in roundup. This report is a shockingly poor example of scientific reporting and is written in such a manner to mislead the readers. The authors use of words and lack of citations is of real concern and paints an unfair, potentially biased view on the safety of glyphosate.

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1 Comment

  1. In your long form of this, https://theleagueofnerds.co.uk/2015/09/08/does-roundup-give-you-cancer/
    your text on “claim 2” is not correct:

    Claim 2. ‘Glyphosate increased pancreatic islet-cell adenoma in male rats in two studies.’
    Here we have a similar story to claim 1, The levels of adenoma was within normal range for those mice nor were the results significant and the final nail: they did not progress into cancer. The IARC monograph had said this of the studies.
    ‘The range for historical controls for pancreatic islet cell adenoma reported in males at this laboratory was 1.8–8.5%. The Working Group noted that there was no statistically significant positive trend in the incidence of these tumours, and no apparent progression to carcinoma.’

    Pancreatic adenomas rates in male rats in unpublished Monsanto studies from the 1980s are shown in Table 1 of this document: http://archive.epa.gov/pesticides/chemicalsearch/chemical/foia/web/pdf/103601/103601-265.pdf

    You will note that the non-control rats showed rates of 18%, 10%, and 15% and that the p-value on the first is 0.018, which is said to be significant in science, where anything < 0.05 is generally significant. Moreover, if they used a trend fit method that expected monotonicity, then the other p values would be higher if they used a different expectation like a threshold response, which it probably was anyway.

    So, the League of Nerds got this one wrong. Factually wrong, i think…. at least from the numbers in the EPA document. We could be looking at different things, so i'm willing to stand corrected but would like to know your response to the data in Table 1 of the 1991 EPA document, anyway. Thanks.

    Second thing — the adenomas in this case did not progress into cancer because… the rats were sacrificed and autopsied for the study.

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