IARC’s designates herbicide 2,4-D ‘possibly carcinogenic’ but no data suggesting carcinogenicity

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Crop spraying at Rulesmains Farm Duns geograph org uk

A near kin to the GMO controversies that ITIF deconstructed earlier this year in a comprehensive guide for policymakers is the drumbeat of often specious criticism directed at some of the other essential inputs for innovative, commercial-scale agriculture. The latest case in point was an announcement last week from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that one of the world’s most widely used weed killers, this time 2,4-D, is “possibly carcinogenic.”

The announcement from IARC comes in the form of a brief report of barely 1,000 words, of which one-third (about one page of text) is devoted to 2,4-D. This is not a reputable approach to science, nor to policy.

IARC states that, “The Working Group conducted a meta-analysis of 11 studies that showed no association of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with ever-exposure to 2,4-D…. The consensus of the Working Group was that there is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of 2,4-D, although a substantial minority considered that the evidence was limited.” [Emphasis added.]

Related article:  Delayed by IARC designation, EPA glyphosate reassessment punted to next administration

Part of what’s going on here is admitted by IARC in its press release, which says, “The IARC Monographs Programme evaluates cancer hazards but not the risks associated with exposure.”

The most difficult issues with which regulatory agencies around the world must deal are how to assess risk accurately (exposure to a hazard) and how to manage risks appropriately. To stop at merely identifying a potential hazard, as IARC does, is not helpful to regulators, and an IARC spokesperson admits as much. The question, then, is what purpose is served by provoking concerns with classifications unsupported by data, and failing to provide regulators with something they might actually find to be helpful?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Caught in the Crosshairs: The Flawed and Flimsy Case Against a Widely Used Weed Killer

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