It appears that the IPCC may not be the only large organisation with a four-letter acronym starting with I and ending with C that produces reports that distort science to make it conform to an agenda.

A group called IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), which is attached to the WHO, produced a report in 2015 on glyphosate, the chemical used in the weedkiller Roundup.

A reporter for Reuters, Kate Kelland, wrote an article a few days ago saying that the IARC had introduced changes between the draft and the final version of the report, deleting various sentences that had said that glyphosate did not cause cancer. Worse still, some past studies that had concluded that there was no significant effect on animals were reported as showing significant effects.

As a sceptical chappie who likes to check things for himself rather than accept what people say, I looked into one of Kelland’s claims. The part about changes in the drafts can’t be checked unless you have the drafts, but the misreporting of previous studies is easy to check, and she’s right. The IARC report says that a study (JMPR 2006), found that haemangiosarcoma increased significantly in male mice:

In the second feeding study, there was a significant positive trend in the incidence of haemangiosarcoma in male CD-1 mice.

But if you look at the original study, it says

There were no statistically significant increases in the incidence of any tumours, either benign and malignant, in either sex when compared with the control groups.

Check it out for yourself by searching both documents for that big word.

In response to Kelland’s Reuters article, IARC issued a remarkably feeble response yesterday. The issue above, of rewriting the conclusions of previous studies, is not mentioned at all.

The analogy with climate change is clear, with evil American glyphosate manufacturer Monsanto playing the role of Exxon.

It’s a hot topic right now because the EU is currently deciding whether to continue licensing glyphosate or ban it.

Coverage elsewhere

Josh cartoon at Bishop Hill.  

Matt Ridley, The Glyphosate Scandal. Ridley says that the IARC finding is contradicted by other studies, and mentions some dubious financial dealings of one of the IARC scientific advisers, Christopher Portier.

Geoffrey Kabat, a cancer epidemiologist, writes in Forbes magazine that “Converging evidence points to the agency’s skewing its glyphosate report to reach a desired conclusion.”

Risk-Monger blog has several related posts, Glyphosate in the age of stupid, IARCgate, greed, lies and glyphosate.

CAPHR: More evidence of IARC data suppression and manipulation.

Alex Berezow: Glyphosate-Gate: IARC’s Scientific Fraud.

BBC: Nothing yet on this specific issue, though Farming Today is talking about glyphosate in view of the imminent EU decision. The latest news today is that the EU decision has been delayed.

New Scientist: Ban on weedkiller won’t save anyone from cancer. There’s also a video.





  1. Cui bono?
    The only people I can currently think of are those opposed to GM crops that are tolerant of glyphosate. Even then I find it difficult to believe that all the scientists and epidemiologists involved in the IARC survey would deliberately fabricate or distort evidence. This suggests that, like some IPCC documents, they were deliberately altered after the text had been agreed. But then, why should those whose conclusions had been altered agree now to be silent? Their names are on record, they seemingly are in conflict with every other survey and the organization which they represent is being deliberately secretive. Surely one of them will be a fink?


  2. Geoffrey Kabat is a noted epidemiologist who has worked with James Enstrom on the bad science surrounding second-hand smoke and lung cancer risk. The IARC is an otherwise reputable organization. For eg, they work with pathologists and clinicians around the world to publish the WHO/IARC Classification of Tumors book series which is an authoritative high-quality resource on benign and malignant tumors.

    When it comes to carcinogenic agents the WHO has blown it. It’s become like the IUCN Red List, for example, which contains fictitious species that are ‘extinct’ based on the precautionary principle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Shub for some balance, concerning other areas. Reading The Times on Monday Matt Ridley convinced me that lawyers hoping to make massive fees suing Monsanto put the activists up to it, with corrupt insiders in IARC giving the scam official status. Not Matt’s exact words but you get the idea.


  4. Take a look. The WH/IARC ‘blue books’ edited by:
    Endocrine: Ricardo Lloyd, Juan Rosai
    Head and Neck: John KC Chan, Peiter Slootweg
    Heme: Steven Swerdlow, Elaine Jaffe
    Urologic: Peter Humprey, Tom Ulbright, Victor Reuter
    Lung: William Travis
    Soft tissue: Chris Fletcher, Julia Bridge
    Breast: Stu Schnitt, Sunil Lakhani

    I am only naming people I know. All reputable scientists and leaders in their respective fields. When the IARC does things like this, it is dragging science’s name down.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unlike Ridley to be on the side of an agressive multinational. I’m shocked!


  6. It’s all about taking sides, is it, Len?

    It’s not unfair to call Monsanto an aggressive multinational, but it doesn’t follow that they’re selling dangerously carcinogenic herbicides. That’s a question of fact, to be judged on the relevant evidence — of risk, not of hazard. if we were to judge solely on hazard, we’d ban cars – which kill around a million people a year.


  7. With Ridley I think it is all about sides. Maybe his skills can command a better price on the Monsanto side, or maybe he thinks they are just nice folks. If it wasn’t about sides you’d expect a non-expert like Ridley or you or most people to come down somewhere in the region of my position: I really don’t know.


  8. I am perfectly willing to believe “aggressive lawyers” would willingly jump aboard a get-Monsanto gravy-wagon but not that they conspired to get a report written that falsely targeted glyphosate, and which differed from all other technical assessments. If indeed earlier drafts included research that concluded glyphosate was not carcinogenic (something that can easily be checked by reference to the original work), then when was the final draft, that concluded the opposite, written and by whom? The assessors need not comment on the earlier drafts (as IARC demands), all they need to answer is whether they approve the published draft.


  9. Len, what is your position on this question? When you tell us, we can judge whether it is reasonable for us to come down somewhere in the region of it.
    So far, all we have from you is a sarcastic comment about Ridley – which implies doubt about what he’s said, but not much else.


  10. Why is it blatantly obvious, Richard? Because some industry shill says so?

    Osseo, I don’t know whether Glyphosphate is as dangerous as some say or as harmless as Monsanto says. At a guess, I’d say somewhere in between. And either way, I’d much rather that I did not contain Glyphosphate in my body, though apparently, it is a good bet that many of us do.

    If it comes down to trust, which I think it does when one can’t judge the data oneself, I’d trust IARC over Monsanto any day.


  11. It is not clear to me that the same study is being referenced. In the JMPR 2004 you link to as the smoking gun, the reference is to Atkinson et al., 1993a. In the Monograph, Atkinson is not referenced.


  12. Paul, Len admits he knows nothing about it. He – like me – prefers to read what supports his position, so he may well not have read the post. Unable to judge the science, his instinct is to support the party he trusts more – again, not necessarily unreasonably. But (unlike in ‘climate science’) the weight of scientific opinion is against him. Monsanto is supported by regulation authorities worldwide – whose job it is to make such assessments. They may all be wrong – but that’s not the way to bet.


  13. Len
    “If it comes down to trust, which I think it does when one can’t judge the data oneself, I’d trust IARC over Monsanto any day.”

    Most of the time I think most people would agree with you, so that’s why this is a “man bites dog” story.

    The real question is who do you trust IARC or Reuters?

    Furthermore you can judge the evidence – compare what the original studies said compared with what IARC said they said.


  14. Alan, given my previous experience with reports from large scince organisations and with journalists, I would hesitate to trust either. Which is why I checked and found that the journalist is correct in this case. Len seems to be in denial.


  15. Paul. I make a distinction between “journalists” and Reuters which experience had led me to hold in high regard. Nevertheless, and like you, I also checked.
    I now believe that Len is becoming ever more reliable. Take the opposite view and you’ll almost always be on the correct side.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Paul, for Len I think it’s all about ‘sides’, on this occasion, as he has no relevant expertise. So all he can offer against Ridley’s view is that maybe Ridley thinks he can profit from siding with Monsanto – or that he thinks Monsanto are ‘nice folks’, a suggestion so preposterous as to add weight to the only alternative he gives. But that alternative seems about as silly as the idea that Len himself (or indeed any of our contributors) is paid to post on this blog.


  17. Is that perhaps the same David as is reported here:

    “Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras admitted that he set a “third-party expert” campaign in motion wherein scientists who could give the illusion of being independent of Monsanto bombarded the journal’s editor in chief, A. Wallace Hayes, with letters that demanded a retraction.”


  18. That was to get a “study, which was led by Professor Gilles Séralini, [that] showed that even extremely low doses of Roundup were toxic to rats in the long-term, causing severe kidney and liver damage, and a higher rate of tumors.”

    “The study was later retracted by the journal, and many observers immediately suspected that Monsanto’s bullies had a hand in the sudden about-face.”

    Now maybe the study was crap and should not have been published. Or maybe it found something real. How many other studies has Monsanto helped cover up I wonder?


  19. Len, you are spouting nonsense. The Seralini study was flawed. You would know if you had a basic understanding of epidemiology, tumor biology and rudimentary statistics: all topics that ought to be incredibly easy to a climate alarmist.


  20. Shub, yes, I said it was crap.

    Interestingly, just below the text quoted at the top:

    “There were no statistically significant increases in the incidence of any tumours, either benign and malignant, in either sex when compared with the control groups.”

    is the text:

    “Haemangiosarcoma was evident in 4/50 males at the highest dose, in 2/50 females at the
    lowest dose, and in 1/50 females at the highest dose, but in none of the 50 animals of the
    control group.”

    So when the newer report says: In the second feeding study, there was a significant positive trend in the incidence of haemangiosarcoma in male CD-1 mice, it is apparently not wrong, unless you read “significant” as “statistically significant”.

    [PM: Len, you really are an imbecile. The first report says

    “Owing to the lack of a dose–response relationship, the lack of statistical significance and the fact that the incidences recorded in this study fell within the historical ranges for controls, these changes are not considered to be caused by administration of glyphosate.

    In conclusion, administration of glyphosate to CD-1 mice for 104 weeks produced no signs of carcinogenic potential at any dose.”

    The IARC report does claim statistical significance, as you would know if you had done as I suggested and searched for the big word haemangiosarcoma.]

    Liked by 1 person

  21. More manufactured outrage do you think?

    Surely nobody here can take what was reported seriously. From above: ” …the IARC had introduced changes between the draft and the final version of the report, deleting various sentences that had said that glyphosate did not cause cancer. Worse still, some past studies that had concluded that there was no significant effect on animals were reported as showing significant effects.

    Does anyone here think it possible to prove that particular negative, that Glyphosate does *not* cause cancer? Only a fool would make such a claim, so how was IARC supposed to leave such idiocy in a report. How did it get there in the first place seems a better question for you, Paul, than promoting manufactured outrage at its removal.

    [PM: Again, the only fool here is you, Len. There are dozens of instances of “no statistically significant…” in both reports, which is formal scientific-speak for glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer. See for example Barry’s link.]


  22. But Len, the proper replacement of various sentences that had said that (in your words) “glyphosate did not cause cancer” is by sentences like “there is no evidence to suggest glyphosate causes cancer” not by statements implying that it does. Also there is now documentary evidence that demonstrates that “past studies that had concluded that there was no significant effect on animals were reported as showing significant effects”. At the very least the IARC report seems unusually to have been sloppily written.


  23. Paul:
    “There are dozens of instances of “no statistically significant…” in both reports, which is formal scientific-speak for glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer. “

    There are indeed about 40 references to non-significance in the older report, but there are about three times as many references to actual statistical significance. And just as the mention of something NOT being statistically significant is NOT “scientific-speak for glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer” (which I’d assume a mathematician should know, though apparently you don’t), so mention of something BEING statistically significant is NOT code for glyphosate causing cancer. But it indicates that glyphosate has detectable effects in mice, rats, dogs etc. And how many times does one have to find something like the increased occurrence of haemangiosarcomas to conclude that though individually they may not be statistically significant, collectively they may indicate something going on.

    Alan, those were Paul’s words (“glyphosate did not cause cancer”), not mine. If they really were in the draft report, they did not belong there and it was right that they were removed. Also your “there is no evidence to suggest glyphosate causes cancer” is perhaps too strong. “A link between glyphosate and cancer is unproven” might be more apt, though I’d defer to the IARC experts.

    Also there is now documentary evidence that demonstrates that “past studies that had concluded that there was no significant effect on animals were reported as showing significant effects”. At the very least the IARC report seems unusually to have been sloppily written.

    No that is untrue. As I pointed out before, the original study showed an increase in haemangiosarcomas and other things. There may be confounding factors and it may not have been statistically significant (they don’t say it was), but the increase is there in the text.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Glyphosate has been used for two decades. The first GMO was Roundup Ready Soybean introduced in 1996. The relevant policy data is not rodent overdoses, it is what has been experiences by the farmers and farmhands who use and are exposed to it in the real world every planting. Since I own a dairy farm and we use exclusively Roundup Ready GMO corn and soybean to facilitate minimum/no till for aoil conservation, I researched the subject extensively out of personal interest. There are of course random cancer clusters, to be expected statistically. But there is ZERO evidence after 20+ years that glyphosate used as directed has any carcinogenic properties whatsoever in any type of human cancer.
    This fact is supported by the lack of carcinogeneity in gross overdosing animal studies.
    Roundup works by inhibiting the plant enzyme EPSP synthase. Roundup Ready is just a GMO with a glyphosate resisant EPSP synthase derived from a soil bacterium. One gene. Neither insects nor mammals use EPSP synthase, so glyphosate is strictly an herbicide.
    Moreover, depending on the formulation Roundup decomposes in from 1day to one month. Therefore there is ZERO crop residue by harvest.
    The only negative has been the US emergence of about 10 species of glyphosate resistant weeds due to overuse and misuse. ‘Solution’ is dicamba, or glyphosate plus dicamba resistant crops. Darwin at work, just like with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

    The pseudoscientific parallels to IPCC climate change are indeed remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Len. In the report that broke this story it says
    Charles Jameson, an American toxicologist. In testimony as part of personal-injury lawsuits against Monsanto in the United States, Jameson [The chairman of the IARC sub-group tasked with reviewing evidence of glyphosate’s effect on laboratory animals] told lawyers for Monsanto he did not know when, why or by whom the edits had been made.
    A frank admission that changes had indeed been made, apparently not sanctioned by him.


  26. That is someone’s interpretation of what was said. The actual interrogation was probably a lot more nuanced. See this testimony for example:

    Here’s an excerpt of something that the same Dr Jameson said that Monsanto is desperately trying to refute:

    11 So — and the overall evaluation, the
    12 IARC working group — now, this is a whole working
    13 group, it’s not just the human subgroup. The whole
    14 working group came to the conclusion that causation
    15 of — between glyphosate, glyphosate formulations and
    16 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a credible evaluation that
    17 the data says that glyphosate and glyphosate
    18 formulations cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the
    19 exposed population.


  27. Len, I think your best bet now is to declare victory and wait for a new post.


  28. If even LA newspapers are coming out against the museli bar that is California
    you know that there isn’t the science behind the IARC’s case. I think the author isn’t being facetious when they point out that vinegar is comparable to Roundup. We use oxalic acid at work and the precautions that need to be taken because of “danger” from working with that are beyond stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Len, please do continue your line for long time.
    You are helping a lot.
    Only not with winning your cause.


  30. I don’t have a cause, really. Before last week, I had only vaguely known of glyphosate. But reading Paul Matthews here writing that an arm of the UN has been corrupted and that hired gun Ridley is on the case whetted my curiosity. If those two are involved, it is a fair bet that reality is somewhat different.

    And so it turns out that the complaint is that a report has changed between draft and publication and Alan says expert witness Dr Jameson doesn’t know who did the deed. Shock, horror, a smoking gun! Yet same Dr J, in a deposition to Monsanto, said there was consensus in the working group that Glyphosate (etc) can cause cancer. So the outrage manufactured by Monsanto, aided by Ridley and Matthews, about stealth changes to a document, is seemingly to deflect attention from the expert testimony that there is a causal relationship between glyphosate and cancer, perhaps including NHL, the object of the case Monsanto is fighting.

    Should I find it strange that there’s such an overlap of climate skeptics with those supporting Monsanto? Maybe not.


  31. Len, ‘hired gun Ridley’ is unsupported, offensive, lacks credibility and is unworthy of you. Move on!


  32. Len, like you, before last week I only had a rudimentary knowledge of glyphosate, although I knew that French farmers are due to go on the rampage if the EU bans it. Reading through the various information sources it is very difficult to come down firmly on one side or another. It seems established that there is significant evidence that most previous investigations show no relationship between gylphosate and cancer at reasonable exposure levels. Some of these were used in the IARC metastudy but were falsely claimed as indicating harm. The problem comes in deciding who was responsible for the changes, whether they were legitimate and whether there was conflict of interest.
    Dr Jamieson would appear to be accepting that there were changes but says he does not know who made them or authorized them. But if your name is attached to a highly contentious report which will have huge financial and legal implications wouldn’t you broadcast to the world that significant changes had been made and that you were not responsible for them. The fact that Jamieson must have been negotiating to act on behalf of people and organizations suing Monsanto immediately before the report was issued does not speak well of his motives.

    So Len’s conclusion is that Monsanto manufactured outrage (evidence for this Len?), aided by Ridley and Matthews, about changes to a document, is seemingly to deflect attention from the expert testimony that there is a causal relationship between glyphosate and cancer. Problem with this is 1) there is evidence for such changes 2) the so-called “expert” testimony is at least partially based on these altered conclusions and 3) other metadata analyses concluded there is no link with cancer. What makes any definitive conclusion from being reached are a) much of the data is from Monsanto sources and is therefore suspect to people like Len and, b) many of the tests involved totally unreasonably high dosages, making any positives suspect to people like me.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Osseo, he seems to make a living from presenting a selection of fact, non-fact and opinion that is designed to appeal to certain producer interests. He’s paid for that, so hired gun seems apt.

    Alan, did Jameson question authorization? The working group’s purpose was presumably to produce a final report using the draft as input. What other authorization do they need? Should they retain the draft unchanged – wouldn’t that be unusual? The text I quoted from his deposition gives no hint that he disagrees:
    “The whole working group came to the conclusion that causation of — between glyphosate, glyphosate formulations and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a credible evaluation that the data says that glyphosate and glyphosate formulations cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the exposed population.”
    There’s no hint of disagreement.

    “The fact that Jamieson must have been negotiating to act on behalf of people and organizations suing Monsanto immediately before the report was issued does not speak well of his motives.”

    Are those facts? Negotiating? To act on behalf of?

    Monsanto is known to orchestrate complaints from seemingly independent scientists and has even provided the text for authors to submit as their own. So it is no stretch to suggest they organized outrage. Also, the unreasonable doses you suggest, perhaps you are thinking about spraying a little Roundup on your flower border. Think again. People apparently get covered in the stuff when mixing it and spraying their fields all day. High doses don’t seem so unlikely.


  34. Len you conveniently ignore the fact that Jameson has stated that he does not know who made the changes, which confirms that changes were indeed made to the final draft approved by him and that he did nothing about it. This leaves the report fatally flawed.

    I do not understand your reasoning about Jameson’s conflict of interest in the days before the report was finalized and when he must have been in negotiations with those suing Monsanto.

    With regard to people potentially in contact with massive exposure to glyphosate, how many of them definitely developed cancers as a result? Answer none. The IARC report says there is no evidence to this effect.

    I am somewhat surprised at your attitude to the evidence available. You are willing to support those who would ban use of glyphosate on the basis of what most reasonable people would consider at the
    very least tainted evidence. This within an environment that tolerates the use of known toxic chemicals like organophosphates. These have been identified as the cause of death in at least 100 farm workers in the US alone. Several, still in use, are known or suspected carcinogens (by IARC). Looks like double standards to me on your part and deliberate targeting of Monsanto. But then shills for climate activists commonly are anti-business.


  35. Ridley “.. he seems to make a living from presenting a selection of fact, non-fact and opinion that is designed to appeal to certain producer interests. He’s paid for that, so hired gun seems apt.”

    Who pays him?

    “I know not seems”.

    I think you are constructing a myth to support your speculations – on the basis of which you are willing to hint that he is dishonest, if not corrupt. This is understandable behaviour, but not to be encouraged.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Rud Istvan, thanks for your comment (12.13 am, 28 Oct) which I’ve just released from the spam bin, sorry about that. It sounds like you know what you are talking about, unlike most of us here!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Paul
    The unfortunate fact that Rud (and Matt) knows what he is talking about and understands the science will cut no ice with people like Len. Rather that address the uncomfortable facts he presented, Rud will be denounced as another Monsanto shill. That means his views can be disregarded. Sad but true.


  38. Rud doubtless knows more than I do about farming using glyphosate. But what he says about residues

    “Therefore there is ZERO crop residue by harvest.”

    is plainly outright false, as a large proportion of Germans have glyphosate in their urine:

    Alan, I’ve seen nothing that says the final draft was changed. And I’ve not seen Jameson’s actual words denying knowledge of the changes. Show me those words and the actual reference to the final draft being changed or stop making things up. Also show me where you learned that he was in negotiation with lawyers opposing Monsanto, or again don’t make things up.

    I would gladly see organophosphates restricted or even banned. But I have said no such thing about glyphosate, although I’d prefer not to be ingesting it.

    Osseo, is he not paid for his articles in newspapers or his speeches? If he does this all unpaid, I withdraw my comment.

    Chris, I doubt Ridley knows any more about it than you or I. And Rud clearly doesn’t know as much as he confidently proclaims.


  39. Len, if you have eaten any vegetable grown in the EU in the last 20 years, you might have ingested glyphosate. Farmers use it to dry out fruit and veg before picking. Set your timer, Len, your time is running out


  40. Ayn Rand, of all people, predicted that when the parasites take over they would impose such idiotic food and other policies that famine would result.
    It is a strange world where she can make accurate prophecies.
    Let’s stilted contrived arguments sound more and more like dialog from one of Rand’s antagonists.


  41. I’ll take the silence, Alan and Osseo, to mean that Alan was making thing up and that Ridley is a paid, not amateur, dissembler.

    Hunter, she was perhaps referring to Stalin and Mao, great icons of famine policy.


  42. Very good, Len, I assume Ridley is paid for his articles – and his books, too. You, however – as you are perfectly well aware – were insinuating that he was paid, not for his literary skills, but for promoting views he did not believe in, for profit. Feel free to deny this, if you wish – but my advice is to leave it there.


  43. Len you may take my hiatus however you like, but like in most things you would be wrong. Evidence for written changes in the report has already been given with differing extracts from the draft and the published report in Paul’s post.

    Well you’ve got me bang to rights, I cannot give Jameson’s exact words, but the information came from a reliable source. I (and you) have little reason to doubt them. If he didn’t say them, then provide details of what he did say.

    Please also provide evidence that I “made things up”. You may not have noticed but you have, in print, accused me of lying and I take this very seriously.


  44. Alan, there’s nothing in this post that shows the draft in question was anything other than an interim version whose very purpose was to be edited. So unless you really have evidence to the contrary, the idea that it was the *final* draft, already approved for publication, was fabricated – whether by you or by someone else I don’t know.

    As for reports of what was said by Dr. J, I wouldn’t believe any that came from an interested party. It is too easy to turn, “I don’t know who was responsible for actually editing the document or why those exact words were used but I agree with the end result” into, “J doesn’t know who changed the doc or why”. So call me sceptical, but I don’t believe your spin on events without evidence.

    Osseo, I have no idea what R believes and neither do you. He’s well known in his writing and speaking for expressing opinions that seem unreliable and for continuing to do this even though his errors are pointed out. I don’t know why someone would do that, but being paid to and having an audience that expects and appreciates his particular take on things would probably do it for some.


  45. Len. There’s none so blind that cannot see. An interim draft with conclusions 180 degrees away from that appearing within the “final’ report; a draft that matches the content of the reports from which it quotes, and a final report that opposes the conclusions of no harm by multiple studies and meta-studies (some done by groups with equivalent stature to IARC). In addition to this, the report was compiled by a group including at least two people who apparently have dubious links with anti-Monsanto groups. Wake up man.

    So far the only argument supporting your view is the fact that much of the evidence used comes from Monsanto sponsored research. However, evaluations of all compounds and drugs are based on independent studies paid for by the organization wishing to get approval for their product.

    Your view implicates literally hundreds of toxicologists, epidemiologists, statisticians and others in a conspiracy, presumably paid for by Monsanto – all with not a speck of evidence. Len, who are you a shill for? They’re not getting there money’s worth.


  46. An important skill set which a post-normalist develops is immunity to facts and a strong aversion to critical thinking.
    Len uses those tools extensively.


  47. Alan, you can’t seem to get your story right. First you want me to believe that the final, approved, draft was changed surreptitiously by persons unknown. You offered Dr J as evidence, yet the same has said he agrees with the final document.

    Now you’re arguing that the whole working group has been swayed by a few corrupt scientists or is it that the two changed the document without the others noticing. Yet I’ve heard no-one from the group disown the result.

    You claim that there is no evidence, yet many studies have found effects of the compound. Paul says to look at the number of times such effects are found to be statistically insignificant, but ignores the 3-times as many that are significant. And even statistically insignificant results, when combined, can indicate statistical significance. Ask Paul.

    I don’t actually have a view on whether glyphosate is a carcinogen, contrary to your suggestion. I dislike the idea of herbicides and pesticides but I’m realistic enough to see their necessity in growing crops. I’m less sympathetic to the idea of using them simply to dry the crop. If they cause cancer or other disease, or if they destroy pollinating insect populations, their use should be restricted and protective clothing should be mandatory; permissible amounts of residue in farm products should be reduced greatly. The latter might reduce their use as dessicants. In fact I’d go for the latter even if there is only weak evidence of carcinogenicity. Or maybe we should just go with warnings on food packaging, like, “This loaf of bread contains 20mg of glyphosate, 10mg of XXX, etc. These farm products probably don’t cause cancer”, and see how that affects sales.


  48. Len, I’m pleased you are realistic enough to be aware of the necessity of using herbicides. I recall a trip to the central Urals in 1991 (only weeks before Gorbachev was overthrown) where we saw fields and field of weeds. We were astounded to discover these were normal wheat and barley fields almost ready for harvesting where no herbicides had been used because of unavailability or cost (probably both).


  49. Len, I like your idea of protective clothing for pollinating insects – but am not quite clear why permissible amounts of residues in farm products need to be reduced. I would have thought this would require evidence, not only of particular chemicals being cancer-causing, but also of their being cancer-causing at or near levels that might be found in farm crops. Evidence – even if weak – is one thing: speculation – or scaremongering – is another.

    It’s not directly relevant, but I’m reminded of an article in ‘Which’ a decade or so back. Headline “Could the pesticide residues from the slice of lemon in your gin-and-tonic give you cancer?” I don’t think any particular pesticide was suspected, but any such residues (carcinogenic or otherwise) would have been present at levels of around 10 to the minus 13 g/l in the drink. The presence of a known carcinogen (ethanol) at maybe 10% by volume was ignored.


  50. New paper here, published 9 November 2017.

    “In this large, prospective cohort study, no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL and its subtypes.”


  51. Latest news – EU renews glyphosate for five years as Germany swings the balance

    BBC – EU settles dispute over major weedkiller glyphosate.

    EU countries have voted to renew the licence of glyphosate, a widely used weedkiller at the centre of environmental concerns.
    The proposal at the EU Commission’s Appeal Committee got 18 votes in favour and nine against, with one abstention, ending months of deadlock.
    The Commission says the new five-year licence will be ready before the current one expires on 15 December.


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