Reuters Investigation Exposes New Science Scandal

  • Date: 23/06/17
  • Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research

In a Special Report published on June 14, 2017, investigators at Reuters uncovered the shocking fact that an American scientist, Dr. Aaron Blair, the Chairman of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) Monograph 112 on glyphosate, suppressed critically important science.

The hidden science in question is recent data from the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted on pesticide exposure in humans. Evidence shows that Dr. Blair withheld updated data from the study which evaluates the pesticide exposure of more than 50,000 farmers and their families.  The updated data reinforces the study’s original conclusion in 2005 that there is no evidence linking glyphosate exposure to cancer incidence.

The AHS was led by scientists from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), including Dr. Blair himself! Under oath, Blair admitted that had IARC considered the study, it likely would have changed its conclusion on glyphosate: “[the] data would have altered IARC’s analysis.”  Even so, IARC told Reuters it will not reconsider its conclusions on glyphosate, which are out of step with every other world regulator that has studied glyphosate.

Perhaps the most surprising revelation is that Dr. Blair, as an author of the AHS, was aware that this updated data existed since 2013.  Incredibly, he claimed that this critical data had not yet been published due to spacing constraints.

According to Reuters’ investigation, the data was not published in time because “there was too much to fit into one scientific paper.”  Since IARC made its determination based, in part, on “limited evidence” of cancer in humans, this data would have been significant.

WHY THIS MATTERS

This bombshell revelation is important for three reasons:

  • It shows that IARC leaders do not abide by fundamental principles of science when forming conclusions, bringing into question the agency’s scientific integrity.

The fundamental tenets of a scientific approach are to identify a problem, form a hypothesis, objectively gather and analyze data, and come to a conclusion (whether one’s hypothesis is right or wrong) based on the analytical results. The Reuters investigation shows that IARC, a World Health Organization (WHO)-affiliated entity, failed to honor a key scientific principle of objectivity in gathering and analyzing data.

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