US congressional committee wants crucial documents related to WHO cancer agency funding investigation

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a U.S. congressional committee investigating taxpayer funding for Lyon, France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, a semi-autonomous part of the World Health Organization, seeks additional information from the National Institutes of Health, reports Reuters.

The report cites a letter sent Thursday to the head of the NIH by U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In the letter, Rep. Chaffetz (R-Utah) questioned whether the WHO's IARC attempted to "avoid public scrutiny" by asking its experts not to disclose requested information, according to Reuters.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform started investigating NIH's links with IARC in 2016 after several lawmakers questioned why U.S. taxpayers are funding the IARC, which has faced criticism for its work, according to the report.

Specifically, the IARC has faced criticism over its classification of carcinogens. However, according to Reuters, IARChas claimed its methods are scientifically sound and said its classifications of carcinogens are "widely respected for their scientific rigor, standardized and transparent process and ... freedom from conflicts of interest."

In a separate letter Thursday to the National Archives and Records Administration office, Rep. Chaffetz also sought clarification of federal records law, specifically relating to information sent between a foreign body and a U.S. government email account, according to the report. He also noted in the letter that IARC has told some of its working group members to not release documents to The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the report states. Rep. Chaffetz said the committee now wanted access to all IARC employee communications related to public records requests, as well as other documents, reports Reuters.

Rep. Chaffetz has asked for a response to his letters by Jan. 24, according to the report.

 

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