Reuters report that IARC ‘edited out’ findings is a false narrative

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Updates: Documents released in 2019 revealed Monsanto’s cozy connection to a Reuters reporter who wrote a series of articles critical of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

IARC issued a statement on Oct. 24, 2017 rejecting the “false claims” in a Reuters article claiming the cancer agency ‘edited out’ findings in its glyphosate cancer report.

Original post October 20, 2017

Continuing her record of industry-biased reporting about the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency, Reuters reporter Kate Kelland again attacked IARC with an article claiming the cancer researchers edited a draft document before issuing their final assessment that classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

The American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry trade group, immediately issued a press release praising Kelland’s story, claiming it “undermines IARC’s conclusions about glyphosate” and urging policy makers to “take action against IARC over deliberate manipulation of data.”

Kelland’s story quoted a Monsanto executive claiming that “IARC members manipulated and distorted scientific data” but failed to mention the significant amount of evidence that has emerged from Monsanto’s own documents through court-ordered discovery that demonstrate the many ways the company has worked to manipulate and distort data on glyphosate over decades.

The story also did not report that most of the research IARC discounted was Monsanto-financed work that did not have sufficient raw data to meet IARC’s standards. And though Kelland cites a 1983 mouse study and a rat study in which IARC didn’t agree with the original investigators, she did not disclose that these were studies financed by Monsanto. She also failed to mention the critical information that in the 1983 mouse study, even the EPA toxicology branch did not agree with Monsanto’s investigators because the evidence of carcinogenicity was so strong, according to EPA documents. They said in numerous memos that Monsanto’s argument was unacceptable and suspect, and they determined glyphosate to be a possible carcinogen.

By leaving out these crucial facts, and by twisting others almost inside out, Kelland has authored another article that serves Monsanto quite well, but misled the public and policy makers who rely on trusted news outlets for accurate information. The only encouraging point to be taken from Kelland’s story is that this time she admitted Monsanto provided her with the information.

Related reporting and documents:

A June 2017 Reuters story by Kate Kelland contained errors and misleading statements that have not been corrected, Reuters’ Kate Kelland IARC Story Promotes False Narrative (July 2017)

For more about Kelland’s history of misleading reporting about the IARC cancer agency, see story below that originally ran in Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (July 2017)

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