By Jessica Domel
Multimedia Reporter

Another Congressional committee is questioning why valuable research proving glyphosate does not cause cancer was withheld from a World Health Organization (WHO) report on the popular weedkiller.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Environment Subcommittee sent letters to WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) regarding the integrity of their report calling glyphosate a probable carcinogen.

“Recent news media reporting has revealed troubling evidence of data deletion, manipulation and potential conflicts of interest with Monograph 112 on glyphosate,” the letter reads. “Additionally, there seems to be a lack of transparency in the science used to justify the findings on glyphosate.”

Reuters recently published an article accusing WHO of editing out research proving glypohsate does not cause cancer.

“In its March 2015 report, IARC categorized glyphosate as a Group2A carcinogen, meaning that the substance ‘probably’ causes cancer in people. However, recent investigatory efforts revealed that substantial portions of the chapter focusing on animal studies were altered, either through deletion or manipulation,” the letter read. “There were several instances where study conclusions that failed to support the carcinogenic nature of glyphosate were deleted.”

According to Reuters’ research, comments on the lack of connection between glyphosate and cancer were omitted from the report entirely.

They were replaced with a statement that the working group wasn’t able to evaluate the study due to limited data.

“The committee wonders how many significant changes and deletions there were in the remaining pages,” the letter reads.

The committee also asks the WHO why they would encourage or allow the scientists involved with the paper to be mum on the issue when contacted by Reuters.

“In fact, after these manipulations were uncovered, IARC instructed scientists involved with the working group ‘not to feel pressured to discuss their deliberations,’” the letter reads. “Rather than encourage its scientists to be transparent with the public, IARC chose to ignore those who are affected by policy decisions that are shaped by the glyphosate monograph.”

Earlier this year, another report from Reuters on glyphosate included information from a scientist involved in the WHO IARC report.

Aaron Blair, who worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute at the time, was a senior researcher on the Agricultural Health Study that looked into the connection between glyphosate and cancer.

In 2013, the team prepared and reviewed papers proving glyphosate does not cause cancer, but that report was not released by the NIH.

Blair reportedly told Reuters it was because there was too much information to put in one paper.

He later served on the IARC committee that concluded glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.”

The science committee’s letter also addresses claims of a conflict of interest for one of the committee members who was involved in the IARC report.

“Besides blatant manipulations of the monograph itself, the committee is also concerned with Christopher Portier’s apparent conflict of interest in relation to the monograph. In his deposition this past September, it became evident that at the same time Portier chaired the IARC Working Group that proposed an assessment on glyphosate, he was also a private litigation consultant for two law firms,” the letter reads. “In his role as a consultant, he directly benefited from IARC’s classification of glyphosate as a ‘probable’ carcinogen. He helped prepare the case against Monsanto, the agricultural company that utilized glyphosate in its products. As a litigation consultant, Portier made at least $160,000 for his initial preparatory work alone.”

The letter, signed by committee chair Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, states the committee is concerned about the scientific integrity of the assessment of glyphosate and of IARC.

“With United States’ taxpayer dollars funding a portion of IMO, it is this committee’s duty to ensure sound science and transparency within the agency. As such, the committee may soon hold a hearing to receive testimony from IARC on how it conducts its IMO reviews and to learn more about who is responsible for the editing of Monograph 112 on glyphosate,” the letter reads.

The committee asks IARC to provide the names and contact information for IARC-affiliated individuals who would serve as potential witnesses for a future hearing by Nov. 8.

A similar letter was sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In mid-August, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to NIH asking for its research on glyphosate.

The committee has not yet announced what information they’ve received and if any additional action is planned.

Texas Farm Bureau also has requested the data, via the Freedom of Information Act, from NIH, but has not yet received the information.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides, including Monsanto’s Roundup.

“In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide has been that glyphosate, when used according to label directions, does not present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment,” Monsanto stated.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report in 2016 concluding glyphosate is not carcinogenic to humans.