Following Monsanto lobbyist comments recently that he's "not stupid" enough to drink the weedkiller that he also proclaimed was safe enough that "you can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you;" Reuters reports that the maker of the world's most widely used herbicide, Roundup, wants an international health organization to retract a report linking the chief ingredient in the weedkiller to cancer. The company said on Tuesday that a report, issued on Friday by the WHO, was biased: "The WHO has something to explain." However, as one scientist noted, "there are a number of independent, published manuscripts that clearly indicate that glyphosate...can promote cancer and tumor growth."
Monsanto, maker of the world's most widely used herbicide, Roundup, wants an international health organization to retract a report linking the chief ingredient in Roundup to cancer.
The company said on Tuesday that the report, issued on Friday by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), was biased and contradicts regulatory findings that the ingredient, glyphosate, is safe when used as labeled.
A working group of the IARC, based in Lyon, France, said after reviewing scientific literature it was classifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
"We question the quality of the assessment," Philip Miller, Monsanto vice president of global regulatory affairs, said on Tuesday in an interview. "The WHO has something to explain."
Monsanto officials have asked to meet with WHO and IARC members, and Miller said the company wants a retraction.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimated agricultural use of glyphosate in 2012, the most recent year available, at more than 283 million pounds, up from 110 million pounds in 2002.
Given its massive lobbying efforts, it is no surprise that the United States and other international regulatory bodies have backed the safety of glyphosate when used as directed, but the IARC report cited studies that raised concerns about glyphosate and impacts on health.
Monsanto says such studies are invalid. But critics say they merit attention.
"There are a number of independent, published manuscripts that clearly indicate that glyphosate ... can promote cancer and tumor growth," said Dave Schubert, head of the cellular neurobiology laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. "It should be banned."
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"Do you think I am stupid?"