Cancer terrifies all of us. Given the painful memories almost every person has in America, this is completely reasonable. Yet, the precise global agency tasked with assessing cancer risks most probably generates a great deal of unnecessary fear according to a Reuters report released today.
Delving into how experts in public health, academia and industry view the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a narrow sub-agency of the World Health Organization, Reuters found considerable cause for confusion and concern. Noting that IARC is held in respect in relevant circles, the article looks at how IARC’s pronouncements can cause confusion even amongst scientists and, thus understandably, among consumers as well.
How does this impact agriculture?
Last spring, IARC announced the reclassification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen. In the fall, the agency listed processed meats in the same category as plutonium. The classifications made by IARC impact public perception of farming practices and, in these instances, provide scary support for anti-ag activists.
Whether one questions IARC’s scientific rigor or its approach to research supplied by third parties, it is abundantly clear questions about the relevance of IARC’s findings in public discourse are, increasingly, becoming more prominent.
Next time a report issues a proclamation citing the cancer risk of a new product, ask questions. Did IARC call something deem something else available for decades secretly as carcinogenic as nuclear material? Stand with science. Sometimes, common sense actually makes scientific sense too.