On Friday, March 20, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized department of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that malathion insecticides have possible carcinogenic effects on humans.
The results were published in the online edition of the Lancet Oncology journal.
It seems that insects are not the only species that can be affected by malathion which is an insecticide that kills them by attacking their nervous system. People and animals can also be affected by this substance.
Other substances have also been mentioned as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’: diazinon, which is used in Winnipeg against adult mosquitoes and glyphosate are also suspected of having cancerous effects. All three substances can be found in the Roundup weed control product.
But the IARC mentioned the report’s conclusions are based on “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer”. The report was drawn up after going through studies released since 2001 on the subject of agricultural exposures to the insecticide in the United States, Canada and Sweden.
The IARC report also mentioned that some studies found malathion to cause cancerous growth in rodents along with DNA and chromosomal changes and hormonal disruptions.
Many discussions were held between people who want to enjoy outdoor activities without being annoyed by mosquitoes and those who don’t want this chemical substance to be sprayed near their homes.
If used under the indicated dosage, malathion can be sprayed without fear of affecting human health or the environment.
Winnipeg has decided to use only 100 percent biological mosquito larvicides this season which means chemical agents will be avoided this summer. The downside to this method is that these substances only affect the growth of larvae into adult insects but mosquitoes that have already matured will not be affected and can further produce larvae.
A news release, opposing the IARC classification states that the data and research the agency used when conducting the report was inconclusive and that relevant scientific information was excluded from the review. The release was done by Monsanto, producer of Roundup. According to this company, glycoposphate uses do not affect human health and that one of the largest human health databases support the use of this chemical.
Image Source: Lowes