Two influential U.S. Congressmen have asked the World Health Organization’s cancer agency to get ready to testify about its work assessing if substances cause cancer, citing concerns about its ‘scientific integrity’.
Their letter to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), seen by Reuters and sent on Wednesday, is part of ongoing investigations by two Congressional committees into IARC that were fueled by the agency’s review of glyphosate, the primary ingredient of Monsanto Co’s weedkiller Roundup.
A letter to IARC director Chris Wild from the Republican chairmen of the House Committee on Science and the Subcommittee on Environment said they are ‘concerned about the scientific integrity’ of IARC’s ‘monograph’ program, which assesses whether various substances can cause cancer in people.
IARC, a semi-autonomous part of the WHO based in Lyon, France, has in recent years assessed whether substances as diverse as coffee, mobile phones and processed meat cause cancer – reports that have all caused controversy.
The Congressional committee letters cited these Reuters investigations as well as other media reports, saying they revealed ‘troubling evidence’ about the way IARC operates.
In the letters, Smith and Biggs asked IARC to respond by November 8, and the department of Health and Human Services to respond by November 15.