U.S. congressional committee members warned on Friday [Dec. 8] that Washington’s funding of the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency could be halted unless it is more open about its operations.
In a letter to the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – a semi-autonomous unit of the WHO – the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology (SST) Committee warned it “may reconsider U.S. taxpayer funding” if IARC “does not demonstrate transparency”.
Since 1985, IARC has received more than $48 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, $22 million of which has gone to IARC’s “monograph” program, which assesses whether various substances can cause cancer in people.
Friday’s letter is the latest twist in an ongoing feud between IARC and two congressional committees. They began an investigation in 2016 after a number of IARC’s assessments – that substances as diverse as coffee, mobile phones and processed meat cause cancer – sparked controversy.
The lawmakers said their concerns were also fueled by the cancer agency’s review of glyphosate, the primary ingredient of Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup.
A Reuters investigation in October found that a draft of a key section of IARC’s assessment of glyphosate underwent significant changes before the report was made public.
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