By Robert E Tarone. Robert Tarone retired in 2016 after 28 years as Mathematical Statistician at the US National Cancer Institute and 14 years as Biostatistics Director at the International Epidemiology Institute.
AbstractThe recent classification by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the herbicide glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen has generated considerable discussion. The classification is at variance with evaluations of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate by several national and international regulatory bodies. The basis for the IARC classification is examined under the assumptions that the IARC criteria are reasonable and that the body of scientific studies determined by IARC staff to be relevant to the evaluation of glyphosate by the Monograph Working Group is sufficiently complete. It is shown that the classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen was the result of a flawed and incomplete summary of the experimental evidence evaluated by the Working Group. Rational and effective cancer prevention activities depend on scientifically sound and unbiased assessments of the carcinogenic potential of suspected agents. Implications of the erroneous classification of glyphosate with respect to the IARC Monograph Working Group deliberative process are discussed.