Conflicting Views on the Potential Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate: How Did We Get Here and What Should We Do
October 27, 2017
Scientists Dr. John DeSesso, Dr. Amy Lavin Williams, and Dr. Richard Reiss in Exponent’s Health Sciences practice recently co-authored the article, “Conflicting Views on the Potential Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate: How Did We Get Here and What Should We Do?” The article was published in Journal of Public Health and Emergency.

The advent of the internet and the information age has allowed the public to become keenly aware of the perceived dangers to health from polluted air and water, pesticide residues in foods, and global warming. Much of the available information on the worldwide web is not vetted, resulting in opinions that are based on anecdotal, emotional and alarming misinformation that runs counter to well-established, science-based medical knowledge. If the ensuing sense of trepidation in the public goes unchecked in social media, it provides the impetus for misguided social activism such as the anti-vaccine movement (due to fears of autism) or the notion that wearing a brassiere or using an underarm antiperspirant contributes to a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

It is incumbent on the scientific community to debunk the myths and untruths that surround many of the false health claims that have seduced segments of the public. Accomplishing this effectively is a daunting task that begins through interactions with the public and the clear communication of health risk information based on the totality of relevant, credible data.

Communication difficulties arise when recognized scientific expert organizations assess the potential health effects of a substance that is of particular interest to the public and announce completely different conclusions. This occurred recently with glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world.

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