Malathion Classified by WHO as Possibly Highly Carcinogenic to Humans

Malathion is an insecticide that kills insects by preventing the nervous system from working properly. People and animals can be affected the same way as insects if they are exposed to enough malathion.

Thus, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized agency of World Health Organization (WHO) announced Friday that malathion and another insecticide, diazinon, used in Winnipeg to kill adult mosquitoes, have been classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’

Glyphosate, along with malathion and diazinon issued the same classification, a key ingredient in the weed control product Roundup.

On the website of The Lancet Oncology journal published the summary of the agency’s findings.

In a news release, the IARC says its classification for malathion is based on “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer.”

That evidence came accrossed after reviewing mostly agricultural exposures to the insecticide in the United States, Canada and Sweden in studies published since 2001.

“Malathion also caused tumours in rodent studies. Malathion caused DNA and chromosomal damage and also disrupted hormone pathways,” the agency’s news release states in part.

A debates have sparked every summer between people who want to enjoy the outdoors bug-free and those who don’t want the chemical sprayed near their homes using of malathion to control Winnipeg mosquito problem has sparked heated debates every summer.

When used according with the right dosage of application and safety precautions, malathion can be used to kill mosquitoes without posing unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.

This summer, the city plans to use 100 per cent biological mosquito larvicides, meaning no chemical agents will be used. However, this only  interrupt the development of larvae into adult insects, thus, adult mosquito is still alive and can continually produce more larvae.

A city spokesperson told CBC News they are working on a response.

The IARC says diazinon was deemed to be probably carcinogenic based on limited evidence in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer.

As for glyphosate, the agency says there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, based on mostly agricultural exposure cases in the United, States and Sweden published in studies dating back to 2001.

It also cited the convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals.

A news release contradictory with the IARC classification, saying there was no research or data involved and relevant scientific data was excluded from review,  by Monsanto, the maker of Roundup. It said that all labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product.

“In fact, every glyphosate-based herbicide on the market meets the rigorous standards set by regulatory and health authorities to protect human health.”



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