This time the nerds are joined by David from The Risk Monger. Both David and James were mentioned in a times article for their stance on the IARC glyphosate monograph. David has found that conflicts of interest could explain the working groups choice to class glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.
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.
In May 2015 anti-GMO lobbyist and ignorance profiters were handed down some glorious news. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had just declared the Glyphosate was probably carcinogenic. Finally validation that GMO’s are evil and monsanto is trying to rape mother earth for every last cent. I read this with some surprise as I was under the impression that there had been numerous safety reports etc… showing the glyphosate (the key ingredient in roundup) was relatively safe. A body within the WHO called the International agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was the devision responsible for this new claim. Aside from sounding like something James Bond would be sent to destroy or otherwise compromise IARC stated aim is ‘to promote international collaboration in cancer research.’ I feel I should state that I actually have a lot of respect for the WHO. I am an avid supporter of their vaccination work and principles of education in helping improve human health, it is with this in mind that I write this. What I am about to say I do not do lightly, the level of scholarship depicted in the IARC report is on par with Andrew Wakefiled of MMR/Autism fame.
In 2015 they released a short communication of their upcoming full monograph’s on the likely cancer causing properties of 4 separate pesticides. Tetrachlorvinphos, Parathion, Malathion, Diazinon, and Glyphosate (1). In this short press release communication the authors laid out several damming conclusions regarding the safety of Glyphosate. They stated that there was sufficient evidence in animals that it was carcinogenic and limited but potentially positive evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Reportedly linked to Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). I first read this shortly after it came out and was immediately annoyed by the lack of citations for almost all of the claims. A total of 6 citations were given for numerous claims over the two paragraphs. 3 of these citations were for a single claim. This set my researcher senses tingling… why didn’t they cite the primary literature? One key citation they had included was a 2006 report conducted early by the WHO in 2006 (2). This was easy enough to track down and within moments I had my jaw on the floor! However instead of writing this then, I held back. I had to wait until the full monograph was released otherwise I could jump the gun and find the reported did contain some evidence that was released after this earlier report. But now the full monograph (3) is out in the public and I am still shocked.