Tag Archives: WHO

Bacon To Be Classified As Dangerous As Cigarettes By World Health Organization

By Guy Bentley

The World Health Organization (WHO) will soon warn that some of America’s favorite meats are as dangerous a cigarettes.

WHO will target processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages as causes of cancer and will say red meat is also hazardous to health in a decision to be released Monday. The findings resulted from a meeting of scientists from 10 countries.

The Daily Mail reports WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer will conclude that a host of processed meats should be placed in the highest of five possible rankings as “carcinogenic to humans.”

The ranking will put burgers and bacon alongside asbestos, arsenic, cigarettes and alcohol. The justification behind the decision, according to the Daily Mail, is that when meat is being preserved through processes like smoking carcinogens can be added. Red meat on the other hand has been linked to bowel cancer, according to the U.K’s Department of Health.

The decision is already drawing fire from scientists and meat experts, with the North American Meat Institute claiming the the report went against “both common sense and dozens of studies showing no correlation between meat and cancer.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr. Ian Johnson, Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Food Research, said:

[quote_box_center]Although there is epidemiological evidence for a statistically significant association between processed meat consumption and bowel cancer, it is important to emphasise that the size of the effect is relatively small, and the mechanism is poorly defined.

It is certainly very inappropriate to suggest that any adverse effect of bacon and sausages on the risk of bowel cancer is comparable to the dangers of tobacco smoke, which is loaded with known chemical carcinogens and increases the risk of lung cancer in cigarette smokers by around 20 fold.[/quote_box_center]

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Monsanto Asks California to Halt Plan Listing Glyphosate as Cancer Cause

Monsanto Company is fighting back against California’s recent decision to list glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide RoundUp, as a cancer-causing chemical.

In late September, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued a notice stating that glyphosate would be added to the state’s list of cancer-causing chemicals under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65.

The decision was made after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the research agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), published a report in March that classified glyphosate “as probably carcinogenic to humans.” State officials said this decision is a requirement following the IARC’s findings.

[Read more: World Health Organization: Monsanto’s RoundUp ‘Probably’ Causes Cancer]

In response to the IARC report in March, Monsanto announced its plans to hire Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy to provide a third-party review of IARC’s claims. The Guardian later reported that a separate assessment performed by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR) “has drawn contrary conclusions from the IARC’s data. The BfR paper also relied heavily on unpublished papers provided by the Glyphosate Task Force, an industry body dedicated to the herbicide’s relicensing. Its website is run by Monsanto UK.”

[Read more: Monsanto Seeks Third-Party Review of Cancer Claims]

Monsanto filed formal comments on Tuesday stating that California’s plan may be illegal, and claimed that the state was insufficient in seeking valid scientific studies before moving forward with adding glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list. The IARC said that before making its classification, the agency had examined several scientific studies including two from Sweden, one from Canada and at least three from the United States.

Monsanto stated in its filing that California’s decision “has the potential to deny farmers and public agencies the use of this highly effective herbicide.” Monsanto further claimed that “global regulatory authorities… agree that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.”

The WHO’s classification of glyphosate as a probable cause of cancer has led to several lawsuits filed against Monsanto. A number of the lawsuits claim that the glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide caused cancer in individuals exposed to the ingredient. Monsanto responded that those claims are “without merit,” according to Reuters.

UPDATE: Environmental Protection Agency May Begin Testing Food For Glyphosate Residue

Following a recent study which found the popular herbicide Glyphosate  ‘probably’ causes cancer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated they may begin testing food for residue of the product.

On Friday the EPA released a statement to Reuters discussing the possible changes.

“Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future.”

The move comes after a study in March by the World Health Organization‘s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The 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. Reuters reports 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 says scientific data does not match the claims and called for an emergency meeting between Monsanto and WHO officials.

However, WHO scientists say they stand behind their assessment. Aaron Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute and lead author of the study, told Reuters“There was sufficient evidence in animals, limited evidence in humans and strong supporting evidence showing DNA mutations and damaged chromosomes.”

The battle around glyphosate is also closely linked to the debate around Genetically Engineered or Modified foods. The herbicide is typically used on GM crops such as corn and soybeans that have been specifically modified to survive the harmful effects of the herbicide. Corporations like Monsanto are heavily invested in the success of the chemical. The herbicide has been found in food, water, and in the air in areas where it has been sprayed.

Currently, the EPA tests thousands of food for pesticide residues, but does not test for glyphosate. This is because the EPA, and the European Union, believe glyphosate to be safe. The agency also told Reuters that the decision to test depends on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Pesticide Data Program. However, Peter Wood, spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told Reuters that the “EPA makes the determination which commodities and pesticides are tested.” Until the WHO study, the EPA was unwilling to believe glyphosate might be harmful and previously said the chemical did not pose a risk to human health.

What are your thoughts? Is the fear of glyphosate and Monsanto legitimate? Is it unnecessary?