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posted by martyb on Thursday May 19 2016, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-pay-your-money-you-take-your-chances dept.

[The WHO] and the Food and Agriculture Organization have come out with a statement that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans". And this only a year after another UN agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated what looks like the exact opposite, that it could "probably" be a cause of cancer in humans. Later on last year, the European Food Safety Authority said that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard".

[...] the difference is that the IARC is looking at the question from a "Is there any possible way, under any conditions at all, that glyphosate could be a carcinogen?", while the FAO and WHO are giving an answer to the questions "Is glyphosate actually causing cancer in people?"

[...] "Risk", technically speaking, refers to your chances of being harmed under real-world conditions, while "hazard" refers to the potential for harm.

Under real-world conditions, eating a normal amount of bacon raise your risk of colorectal cancer by an amount too small to consider. But it does appear to be raising it by a reproducible, measurable amount, and therefore bacon (and other processed meats) are in the IARC's category 1.
[...] It's important to note that some hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, gives anyone cancer every single time they touch it would also be in category 1, the same as a hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, raises a person's risk of cancer by one millionth of a per cent. Same category. These categories are not arranged by relative risk – they're arranged by how good the evidence is. Glyphosate is in category 2A, which means that there is evidence from animal studies, but limited/insufficient evidence from humans as of yet.
[...] So yes, by the standards of the available evidence, glyphosate is in the same cancer hazard category as working the night shift, or working as a hairdresser.

TFA is interesting and worth a read, especially for its use of a shark analogy explaining the difference between risk and hazard.

Link: Glyphosate And Cancer By Derek Lowe
Additional Wired link: Does Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Cause Cancer or Not? The Controversy, Explained


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  • (Score: 2) by ilPapa on Thursday May 19 2016, @12:28PM

    by ilPapa (2366) on Thursday May 19 2016, @12:28PM (#348271) Journal

    The PR department at Monsanto has been working overtime this week, splashing old research all over the internet about how their agri-products are safe as milk. I get the feeling they're trying to get out in front of some negative stories.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Whoever on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:32PM

    by Whoever (4524) on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:32PM (#348335) Journal

    This one? [theintercept.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @05:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @05:14PM (#348408)

    They are also in negotiations for a multibillion dollar sale. Too much bad press hurts the parachute of those at the top.