NRDC Defends WHO’s Cancer Research Arm from GOP, Industry Attack

WASHINGTON – A GOP and agrochemical industry effort to discredit and defund the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency is a threat to public health, Dr. Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the House Science Committee today. 

Sass testified before the committee to defend the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  IARC is under attack because of its 2015 finding that the weed-killer glyphosate “probably” causes cancer.  Glyphosate is the major ingredient in the product Roundup, widely sprayed on crops, golf courses and residential lawns.

“This hearing is about the ability of a public health agency to call a carcinogen a carcinogen, even if it makes a huge amount of money for a powerful corporation,” Sass noted in written testimony to the Committee.  “Are we willing to sell out the public’s right to know about harmful chemicals in the places we work, live, and play, just so that Monsanto Co. can sell more glyphosate?”

IARC’s work, she noted, is “essential for informing cancer prevention strategies and effective public health decision-making around the world.” 

Sass also criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of whether glyphosate causes cancer.  She pointed out critical ways in which the Pruitt EPA has veered away from best practices to conclude that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer—a finding favorable to the agrochemical industry.

The written testimony of Dr. Sass, a senior scientist with the Healthy People and Thriving Communities program at NRDC, is available here.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​



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