Joanna Clarke (Letters, 18 August) states that the World Health Organisation (WHO) classes glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic”. Only the cancer agency of the Who made this claim.
The WHO agency on pesticide residues, the US Environment Protection Agency and most importantly the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment that contains easily the largest toxicological data base on glyphosate, disagree with this designation.
This latter organisation points out that the Who cancer committee claims are based on very few documents, mainly on animals and with limited evidence in humans and of course ignore the importance of dose.
This same WHO cancer committee also placed hairdressing, art glass, night shifts, tea bag manufacturing and grapefruit juice in the same “probably carcinogenic” class along with emissions from frying food but not those from grilled food.
Ms Clarke continues to propagate the old myth about viral DNA being incorporated into the human genome purportedly intact and in some unspecified way causing cancer and diseases.
The virus referred to, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is found in 10 per cent of all cauliflowers and many other members of the brassica family that we eat routinely.If Ms Clarke’s logic is correct, eating cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnip and so on provides a 10 per cent chance of getting cancer.
Like the grams of DNA we consume every day in our food, viral DNA is simply digested.
Finally Ms Clarke claims this SNP government has always opposed GM crops. That might have more to do with the Holyrood investigation initiated by Ms Sturgeon some 15 years ago in which she sided with the voices of ignorance and hysteria and against the presented scientific evidence.
(Prof) Tony Trewavas FRS FRSE