IARC's Game of Chicken with Congress

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The World Health Organization group International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is suffering through a period of critical upheaval. Thanks to investigative work spearheaded by independent blogger David Zaruk, Ph.D., the ethical breaches of IARC environmental activist Chris Portier, Ph.D., who massaged Working Group criteria to exclude experts with any industry experience while exempting his paychecks from Environmental Defense Fund, have been exposed. That Portier signed a lucrative contract with attorneys looking to sue Monsanto before Monograph 112, which declared the herbicide glyphosate a "probable" human carcinogen, was even released has sadly become expected for the group. It is now obvious that the attorneys knew what the result of the Monograph would be before WHO or the public did, because Portier was looking to cash in on his efforts.

It was later discovered that in making their finding about glyphosate, the IARC Working Group weirdly branded studies concluding that the compound was not a carcinogen as being evidence for carcinogenicity, they blocked other studies that would have invalidated their conclusion as being too weak to include. Scientists who were on the Working Group have overwhelmingly refused calls for transparency, the only ones who have bothered to respond cloaked themselves in United Nations immunity.

But Congress is not going to be stonewalled so easily. If IARC were an American agency, it probably would never have gotten to this point. If IARC were an American company, Portier and IARC's leader, Chris Wild, Ph.D., would be facing the prospect of jail time. Instead, Wild was seemingly removed from his position before WHO repositioned it as being a very, very, very early announcement that he would not be continuing after his term expires. The U.S. Congressional Committee On Science, Space, And Technology is still not appeased. Last week, Chairman Lamar Smith called on IARC to respond to allegations about their manipulation of the Working Group findings. IARC is trying to buy time, claiming Congress did not go through their proper procedures...which means they are trying to formulate answers that won't call into question their cancer claims about bacon, hot water, diesel emissions and plenty of other findings. The group says they will only answer if the U.S. State Department goes through American representatives sitting on IARC's governing council.

That sort of posturing may play well at the U.N. but it is a sure way to get their funding pulled by a US Congress. And really, IARC doesn't need American funding. I know plenty of activists who can cherry-pick studies and make junk science claims, and they will do it for free since, like with Portier, activists and sue-and-settle attorneys are behind the scenes bankrolling their efforts.