International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) senior scientist Kurt Straif has appeared live on Euronews Friday to state clearly that “glyphosate can cause cancer” and that the IARC report that classified the World’s most used herbicide as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ in 2015 is the best independent classification of the chemical.
Is glyphosate dangerous or not? To find out… I’m joined by Kurt Straif, a senior scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
“Our evaluation was a review of all the published scientific literature on glyphosate and this was done by the world’s best experts on the topic that in addition don’t have any conflicts of interest that could bias their assessment, and they concluded that, yes, glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans based on three strings of evidence, that is clear evidence of cancer in experimental animals, limited evidence for cancer for humans from real-world exposures, of exposed farmers, and also strong evidence that it can damage the genes from any kind of other toxicological studies.”
euronews: “Why isn’t glyphosate banned considering these findings which are damning?”
Kurt Straif: “This is really an independent review of all the published literature that then leads to a classification about what we know about the substance and particularly its cancer-causing effects, but then it’s up to other agencies, the WHO internationally or other national agencies to turn that into a risk assessment and decide on the different exposures in our use, for farmers, from our diet, in cosmetics, wherever the substance can end up, to come up with conclusions.”
euronews: “Last May a joint Food and Agriculture Organization / WHO panel gave glyphosate a clean bill of health, Why this change of heart?”
Kurt Straif: “Our classification of the cancer hazards of glyphosate still stand. We are the authority to classify cancer substances worldwide for the WHO, and it was then this other panel that looked at a very narrow angle of exposure from daily food, and then came up with the conclusion on how much of that may be safe or not.”
euronews: “But as a consumer, as a farmer, as an occasional beer drinker, as somebody who likes to sit in parks that have been treated with glyphosate, what and who should I believe?”
Kurt Straif: “I think it’s important to understand the literature that our assessment that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans still stands, and then you have to look at the other assessments for the specific scenarios, and that is not my authority to comment on these evaluations.”
euronews: “There were credible reports that emerged after this joint FAO-WHO panel back in May that some of the scientists had received payoffs by Monsanto, the number one producer of glyphosate. As a scientist are you disturbed by these kinds of reports?”
Kurt Straif: “It is an important topic that needs important scrutiny, yes.”