Talking Biotech: Epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat debunks flawed glyphosate-cancer meta-analysis. Were the mistakes deliberate?

glyphosate hr
Credit: Greenpeace Europe

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, ‘increases cancer risk by 41%.’  This alarming statistic saturated news reports in mid February, based on a new meta-analysis of old data performed by a research team at the University of Washington.

Related article:  GMO alfalfa has higher yields than conventional, according to USDA survey

The study did not examine all cancers, but instead focused on a rare cancer known as Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL).  The conclusion was generated from a re-analysis of previous reports, the most important of which showed absolutely no association between glyphosate use and NHL.

Epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat

So how did studies with marginal or no associations and a powerful study with no association morph into a meta-analysis showing a definitive link between glyphosate and cancer? University of Florida plant geneticist Kevin Folta and cancer epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat take a deep dive into the new study, exploring concerns that the data put into the meta-analysis may have been selectively chosen to produce a desired outcome.

Kabat has been on the faculty of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers, he has written two books on risk and more than 50 health-related articles for Forbes and Slate.


Follow Dr. Kabat on Twitter at @GeoKabat and visit his website.

Talking Biotech podcast, produced by Kevin Folta, available for listening or subscription:

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