Can Elisabete Weiderpass reform controversial IARC cancer agency?

New IARC director Elisabete Weiderpass (Image source:
New IARC director Elisabete Weiderpass (Image source:

On Thursday 17th March, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (the IARC), appointed Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass as its new Director. She will replace Christopher Wild, the outgoing director.

Certainly the IARC’s critics will consider Dr Weiderpass’s election preferable to that of Mr Christofer Portier who – despite a history of polemics –  was among the 33 candidates in the election. But they may well be surprised that this blood is not as new as it may appear. Parts of Dr Weiderpass’s CV show that she was connected with the institution as long as 20 years ago. 

In fact, she did a post doc at the IARC in 1994 and since then seems to have been a strong supporter of the institute. She is also one of the authors of a 2015 study that rejected widespread criticism of the IARC. Her husband, Harri Vainio – a member of the Ramazzini Institute whose studies on glyphosate have been heavily criticized by the scientific community – is also linked to the IARC, where he was in charge of monographs from 1983 to 1987 and from 1990 to 1993. Finally, she was deeply involved in the glyphosate dispute as she co-authored a paper with Christopher Portier in which the authors sought to discredit EFSA’s work. We bet that scientists who have criticized the IARC’s bias will take a dim view of these details….

Related article:  European commission draft law would renew license for glyphosate

Read full, original post: Elisabete Weiderpass: Heading off controversy at the IARC?

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