Washington — The American Chemistry Council is launching a public campaign that aims to change how the International Agency for Research on Cancer makes decisions about the carcinogenicity of chemicals.
The campaign could have implications for the plastics industry. ACC said IARC decisions have a “significant impact” on public policy and product deselection in the United States, including decisions made by California under its Proposition 65 chemical labeling law.
Various plastic monomers and components have been subjects of California's Proposition 65 rulings, and one plastics trade group in 2015 launched a Prop 65 insurance program to help companies defend against lawsuits and violation notices.
IARC said the ACC was trying to discredit it through “misrepresentations and inaccuracies” and said it was similar to strategies used by the tobacco industry.
ACC launched the campaign Jan. 25 with a website and a new twitter handle, and said IARC's decision-making on the cancer-causing potential of chemicals “suffers from persistent scientific and process deficiencies that result in public confusion and misinformed policy-making.”
“Public policy must be based on a transparent, thorough assessment of the best available science,” said Cal Dooley, president and CEO of Washington-based ACC, in a statement. “Currently, IARC's monographs do not meet this standard though U.S. taxpayers foot the bill for over two-thirds of the international program's budget.”
ACC is calling its public effort the Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research.
IARC, based in Lyon, France, is part of the World Health Organization.
In a statement to Plastics News, IARC defended its work.
“The American Chemistry Council campaign against IARC is the latest in a series of attacks aimed at discrediting the WHO Cancer Agency and its Monographs' evaluation program, through misrepresentations and inaccuracies,” IARC said.
“This is reminiscent of the strategies used by big tobacco to spread doubt about scientific conclusions,” it said. “Unsurprisingly, the ACC as a chemical industry trade association, whose members include Monsanto, is defending its vested interests through this action.”
IARC said its science is transparent, independent and rigorous.