US House committee ‘may reconsider’ WHO cancer agency funds

US House committee ‘may reconsider’ WHO cancer agency funds

LONDON – Reuters
US House committee ‘may reconsider’ WHO cancer agency funds

U.S. congressional committee members have warned that Washington’s funding of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research agency could be halted unless it is more open about its operations.

In a letter to the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - a semi-autonomous unit of the WHO - the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology (SST) Committee warned it “may reconsider U.S. taxpayer funding” if IARC “does not demonstrate transparency.”

No-one at IARC, which is based in Lyon, France, was immediately available to comment.

Since 1985, IARC has received more than $48 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, $22 million of which has gone to IARC’s “monograph” program, which assesses whether various substances can cause cancer in people.

The Dec. 8 letter is the latest twist in an ongoing feud between IARC and two congressional committees. They began an investigation in 2016 after a number of IARC’s assessments - that substances as diverse as coffee, mobile phones and processed meat cause cancer - sparked controversy.

The lawmakers said their concerns were also fuelled by the cancer agency’s review of glyphosate, the primary ingredient of Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup.

A Reuters investigation in October found that a draft of a key section of IARC’s assessment of glyphosate underwent significant changes before the report was made public.

In their letter, SST Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Vice Chairman Frank Lucas, and Chairman of the Environment Subcommittee, Andy Biggs, repeated an earlier request to IARC’s director, Christopher Wild, to provide potential witnesses for a hearing before their committee.

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