The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a wing of the World Health Organization, removed numerous sections from a draft of its review on glyphosate that concluded glyphosate was not a carcinogen.
That’s according to an investigation by Reuters, published last month.
The IARC concluded in March 2015 that glyphosate probably caused cancer in humans. The organization cited “sufficient evidence,” that it caused cancer in animals and “limited evidence” that it caused cancer in humans.
The edits identified by Reuters were the removal of multiple scientists’ conclusions that studies they had conducted found no link between glyphosate and cancer.
A sentence in the draft report referred to a pathology report from the EPA, which noted “firmly,” and “unanimously,” that glyphosate had not caused abnormal growths in mice that were being studied. That sentence was removed from the final report.
There were a total of 10 changes identified by Reuters between the draft and final report. Each time, a negative conclusion about glyphosate (that it did not cause cancer) was replaced with a neutral one, or a positive one (that it did cause cancer).
The chairman of the IARC sub-group in charge of reviewing evidence of glyphosate’s effects, Charles Jameson, gave testimony as part of personal-injury lawsuits against Monsanto in the United States. He said that he did not know when the edits were made, why they were made, or who made them.
New information was also added to the final version. A 1983 study conducted on mice appeared in the draft version, wherein investigators had found no statistically significant link between glyphosate and cancer. The new calculation done by the IARC came to the opposite conclusion, which appeared in the final report.
The only response IARC gave to the Reuters investigation was to post on its website, saying that members of the working group had been approached by “various parties asking them to justify scientific positions in draft documents,” but that drafts were “deliberative in nature and confidential. Scientists should not feel pressured to discuss their deliberations outside this particular forum.”