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Editorial relied on inaccurate reporting about glyphosate study

Editorial relied on inaccurate reporting about glyphosate study

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The editorial “In a scientific dispute over Roundup, Monsanto gets a boost” (June 24) compounds upon the errors and misleading reporting of a June 14 Reuters story that wrongly accused a cancer scientist of withholding data in a safety assessment of glyphosate.

The scientist in question, Dr. Aaron Blair, acted in accordance with International Agency for Research on Cancer rules that call for a focus only on published data in assessments. A close reading of source documents used for the Reuters story, which the Post-Dispatch editorial was based on, shows that the subset of unfinished, unpublished data, which the editorial inaccurately described as “a massive study,” was considered not sufficient to have changed IARC’s decision to classify glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

The documents instead show significant amounts of published and unpublished data tying glyphosate to cancer. It is only through a careful cherry-picking and twisting of selected lines from the documents that the Reuters story was written. The editorial writers should have checked the source documents for themselves.

“Science in the interest of public health is too important to be manipulated,” wrote the editorial board. On that we agree. The paper's readers and policy-makers grappling with glyphosate deserve more fair and accurate science reporting.

Carey Gillam  •  Oakland, Calif.

Research director, U.S. Right to Know

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