IARC and asbestos – are there conflicts of interest at a WHO organ?

Recently an article on asbestos and cancer risk was published presenting evidence on former or present persons at IARC depreciating cancer risks from asbestos exposure. One person, Paolo Boffetta, was reported to have been an expert witness for the asbestos industry.

The story on industry infiltration of WHO is described: “In the past, the asbestos industry has succeeded in making inroads inside the World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim of perverting scientific information and promoting continued trade in asbestos, just as the tobacco industry, in the past, infiltrated the WHO. Serious concerns are presently being expressed regarding the fact that the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is putting forth outdated and inaccurate information regarding chrysotile asbestos that minimizes the harm to health that it causes and is collaborating with a discredited institute in Russia and with discredited scientists, who promote use of chrysotile asbestos and deny that it is hazardous to health.” – See more at: http://www.rightoncanada.ca/?p=1761#sthash.PzHXK1Mm.dpuf

The question is if the asbestos story is an isolated occasion or what is on-going at IARC? One recent publication on mobile phones and brain tumour risk is to be considered in that context. Three of the four authors are employees at IARC. Several wrong or misleading facts on brain tumour risk from published studies are presented in the article. Most remarkable is that our recent articles on use of mobile or cordless phones and brain tumour risk are omitted. These publications are well-known to the authors since they were sent to IARC as soon as they were published and even orally presented to one of the authors at IARC, Joachim Schüz. Instead articles of low quality and little value are presented in their paper. Our new articles add further evidence on the increased risk on use of mobile and cordless phones and glioma and acoustic neuroma. So why were they omitted from the IARC article? Are there conflicts of interest at IARC also on this issue?

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