GOP chairman questions US funding for international cancer research agency

GOP chairman questions US funding for international cancer research agency
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The chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Tuesday slammed an international body’s cancer research on a common pesticide and questioned whether the United States should contribute funding to the body.

Rep. Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithEx-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Former GOP Rep. Walters joins energy company Democratic staffer says Wendy Davis will run for Congress MORE (R-Texas) called the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) conclusions on the pesticide glyphosate “unsubstantiated” and “not backed by reliable data.”

He also accused the agency of using “cherry-picked” information.

“IARC’s conclusion about glyphosate relied only on data that was favorable to its conclusion and ignored contradictory data,” Smith said at a hearing about the IARC process.

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“The selective use of data and the lack of public disclosure raise questions about why IARC should receive any government funding in the future.”

IARC is part of the World Health Organization, itself a United Nations agency. It gets money from the U.S. through the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The hearing focused on a 2015 conclusion from IARC that found that glyphosate, an extremely common pesticide sold by Monsanto Co. as Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

That finding contrasts with studies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and government researchers in Canada and Europe.

Rep. Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Bipartisan bill to secure election tech advances to House floor Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction MORE (R-Okla.), the Science Committee’s vice chairman, called IARC’s work “shoddy” and said it is “unacceptable from any scientific body, let alone one funded by the American taxpayer.”

Democrats on the committee pushed back at the GOP’s characterizations of IARC and tried to turn the tables against Monsanto, which has been pushing against the 2015 finding through numerous means.

“It is important that we review the methods and tactics that industry has used to influence this [Trump] administration and attack independent scientific organizations like the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer,” said Rep. Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciPelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule Overnight Energy: Democrats call for Ross to resign over report he threatened NOAA officials | Commerce denies report | Documents detail plan to decentralize BLM | Lawmakers demand answers on bee-killing pesticide MORE (D-Ore.).

“We must make sure any chemical review is not undone by undue industry influence or misleading scientific studies.”

Bonamici said the discrepancy between IARC’s findings and those of agencies such as the EPA may have a simple explanation: IARC examines whether a chemical could possibly cause cancer under particular circumstances, while the EPA seeks to estimate the cancer risks.