Monsanto Co, maker of the most widely-used herbicide in the world, Roundup, demands a retraction from the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency after its report linked glyphosate to cancer. Shortly after the company warned that “the WHO has something to explain,” Dr Patrick Moore, an independent scientist not associated with Monsanto refused to drink the herbicide he claimed “it’s not dangerous to humans.”
The agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology company claimed the report recently issued by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is biased and contradicts regulatory findings that glyphosate, the most widely-used herbicide in the world, is safe when used as labelled, Reuters reported. According to the assessment published in The Lancet, 17 experts from 11 countries met at the IARC in Lyon, France to assess the carcinogenicity of the herbicide. The glyphosate was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Philip Miller, vice president of global regulatory affairs for Monsanto said in an interview that the company questions the assessment’s quality and warned that “the WHO has something to explain,” the news agency noted. Brett Begemann, president and chief operating officer with Monsanto, told reporters that the study’s findings have “the potential to unnecessarily confuse and alarm” farmers, parents, consumers and the public at large. Still, Mr Begemann announced Monsanto expects “farmers will continue to use [its products]” and does not foresee that there will be an impact on [its] sales.”
In a letter to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Just Label It, Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council called the WHO announcement “extremely timely,” as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing “to issue its preliminary risk assessment of the widely used herbicide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.”
One proponent of the “glyphosate is safe” narrative is Dr Patrick Moore, former Greenpeace member and independent scientist who recently joined French cable channel Canal+ as part of an upcoming news documentary. Dr Moore advocated for the safety of glyphosate, Roundup’s main ingredient, but refused to drink it when the journalist offered to get his guest a glass of the above-mentioned herbicide. Before walking off set and calling his interviewer a “jerk,” Dr Moore explained that “people try to commit suicide with it [glyphosate],” but fail due to its harmlessness.
After this episode, Monsanto told Huffington Post in an e-mailed statement that Dr Moore is not a paid lobbyist or employee of the company.