Monsanto Seeks Third-Party Review of Cancer Claims

In March of this year TruthInMedia reported that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report in The Lancet Oncology detailing evaluations of organophosphate pesticides and herbicides. The report concluded that there was “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” The evidence for this conclusion was pulled from studies of exposure to the chemical in the US, Canada and Sweden published since 2001.

 The researchers found “convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause cancer in laboratory animals.” The report points out that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) had originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 1985. The IARC Working Group evaluated the original EPA findings and more recent reports before concluding “there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Despite the WHO’s findings, the EPA approved Monsanto’s use of glyphosate as recently as 2013.

Glyphosate is not only the most widely-used herbicide, it is a key ingredient in Bio-Tech giant Monsanto’s popular RoundUp products. At the time Reuters reported that Philip Miller, Monsanto’s vice-president of global regulatory affairs, was unsure “how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe.” The corporation stated that scientific data does not match the claims and called for an emergency meeting between Monsanto and WHO officials.

Now Reuters reports that Monsanto has announced they have hired Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy to form “a panel of internationally recognized scientific experts to review IARC’s work. The experts include medical doctors, cancer experts, and individuals with doctoral degrees who are specialists in public health, the Creve Coeur, Missouri-based company said.”

Monsanto President Brett Begemann told Reuters that Monsanto is “confident in the safety of its herbicide products” but the review is being done to reassure consumers of the safety of the popular herbicide.

“It has created a lot of confusion,” Begemann told Reuters. “This panel is going to review the data thoroughly, and they are going to make their findings available to everyone for review.”


Monsanto promised a fair and transparent review.

Glyphosate is only one of Monsanto’s products that have been recently connected to cancer, however. In June the IARC also found that the  weed killer 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, known as 2,4-D, “possibly” causes cancer in humans.

The IARC reviewed the latest scientific research before deciding to classify 2,4-D as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” a step below “probably carcinogenic”. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been receiving pressure to restrict or prohibit the use of 2,4-D, while some farm group and pesticide industry groups say the chemical does not need any more restriction.

Of particular interest with the recent findings is the fact that in April the EPA approved the use of Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo herbicide which contains 2,4-D and glyphosate. Enlist Duo is part of a partnership between Monsanto and Dow known as the Enlist Weed Control system.

Monsanto has not released a statement on whether or not they will also convene a panel to study the IARC’s claims about 2,4-D.