In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report declaring that the popular herbicide glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” The agency’s conclusion contradicts the view of every respected scientific body that has weighed in on the issue, and experts have long argued that IARC is sympathetic to anti-chemical activists who erroneously believe that glyphosate is toxic.
Just last week, it came to light that one of the experts on IARC’s glyphosate panel, Christopher Portier, was a paid consultant to lawyers who are suing Monsanto and is, in fact, not even an expert on glyphosate. Moreover, the 2015 report intentionally excluded research that contradicts IARC’s conclusion that the herbicide is carcinogenic, according to Reuters.
On this episode of the show, science writer Jon Entine joins me to discuss this example of what appears to be corruption and secrecy at IARC and what it means for the debate around biotechnology and agriculture. Entine is the founder of the Genetic Literacy Project, an effort “to promote public awareness and constructive discussion of genetics, biotechnology, evolution and science literacy.” He is also the author of two bestselling books, and his work has appeared or been profiled in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and the Washington Post.
- Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture
- Greed, Lies and Glyphosate: The Portier Papers
- In glyphosate review, WHO cancer agency edited out “non-carcinogenic” findings
- European Food Safety Authority’s glyphosate page
Interview by science journalist Cameron English. His website is here.
Jon Entine is executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project. Follow him on Twitter.