Canada’s Minister of Health challenged to uphold independent science and ethical standards

Tue, Dec 18, 2018


Kathleen Ruff,

Minister asked to hold independent, transparent review of Canada’s most heavily used pesticide: glyphosate

Environmental & health groups and individuals have sent an Open Letter to the Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, challenging her to uphold independent science and ethical standards, as she promised to do when appointed Canada’s Minister of Health by Prime Minister Trudeau. The groups and individuals are asking the Minister to hold a new, independent review of Canada’s most heavily used pesticide, stating that Health Canada’s review of glyphosate was scientifically defective and ethically tainted.

The Minister is currently considering whether to hold a new, independent review.

Glyphosate based herbicides, such as Round  Up, represent 56% of all pesticides used in agriculture in Canada. Use of glyphosate has sky-rocketed with more than 25 million kilograms sold each year since 2008. Samples analyzed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency show that 31.7% of cereals and 30.7% of food for infants, a particularly vulnerable population, contained glyphosate residues. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that glyphosate is genotoxic for humans and a probable carcinogen for humans.

In their letter, the writers state:

“Compelling evidence was submitted in the Notices of Objection, that Health Canada’s review was scientifically deficient; relied overwhelmingly on non-published, internal reports by companies with a financial benefit to gain from the decision, including Monsanto; omitted an extensive volume of critical, up-to-date, independent studies and lacked credibility. Evidence was also submitted that Health Canada’s process was tainted by scientific and ethical malfeasance.

For the past year and a half, Health Canada has responded with silence to these grave concerns and documented evidence of ethical misconduct, thus demonstrating an apparent absence of ethical standards and an absence of accountability. We therefore call on Health Canada to demonstrate commitment to the promised “highest ethical standards” and “a culture of integrity and accountability” and to establish an independent, transparent review panel on glyphosate. In this way, you can demonstrate ethical and scientific leadership, and that Health Canada is working to regain and retain the trust of Canadians.”

This is an important issue about the integrity of science and the integrity of Canada’s public health policy, state the environmental groups and signers of the letter.

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