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Thu Oct 6, 2016, 11:07 PM

U.S. lawmakers to investigate funding of WHO cancer agency

Source: Reuters

POLITICS | Thu Oct 6, 2016 | 3:42pm EDT

Exclusive: U.S. lawmakers to investigate funding of WHO cancer agency

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent | LONDON

Oct 6 Officials from the U.S. government's health research agency are to be questioned by a congressional committee about why taxpayers are funding a World Health Organization cancer agency facing criticism over how it classifies carcinogens.

An aide to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform told Reuters that National Institutes of Health officials have agreed to give an in-person briefing to the committee after questions were raised by lawmakers over its grants to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a semi-autonomous part of the WHO based in Lyon, France.

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In recent years IARC has caused controversy over whether such things as coffee, mobile phones, processed meat and the weed killer glyphosate cause cancer.

Its critics, including in industry, say it is sometimes too quick to conclude that substances might cause cancer, causing unnecessary health scares. It defends its methods as scientifically sound.

In a Sept. 26 letter to NIH director Francis Collins, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz describes IARC as having "a record of controversy, retractions, and inconsistencies" and asks why the NIH, which has a $33 billion annual budget, continues to fund it.

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Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-iarc-idUSKCN1261WS

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