Tuesday, June 23, 2015

WHO Evaluates Carcinogenicity of 2,4-D Herbicide

On June 22, 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released an evaluation on the carcinogenicity of the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).

2,4-D, introduced in 1945, has been widely used to control weeds in agricultural, forestry, urban, and residential settings. Occupational exposure occurs during the manufacturing and application of the herbicide and the general public can be exposed through food, water, dust, and residential application. According to the report, humans expel 2,4-D mostly unchanged through urine.

The IRAC has evaluated 2,4-D to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, with “inadequate evidence in humans” and “limited evidence in experimental animals.” IRAC states that there is strong evidence that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress, as well as moderate evidence that 2,4-D can cause immunosuppression. The study did not find strong or consistent increases in cancer risks as a result of exposure to 2,4-D.

The IRAC also evaluated the insecticides lindane and DDT, categorizing the two as “carcinogenic to humans” and “probably carcinogenic to humans” respectively.

The summary of the evaluations can be found here. The full evaluations will be published as Volume 113 of the IARC Monographs. 

Written by Tyler R. Etter- Research Assistant
June 23, 2015

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