Scientists have accused the alcohol industry of misleading the public over the link between alcohol and cancer.
Researchers looked at the websites of 28 global organizations representing the alcohol industry, and concluded that the vast majority distort or misrepresent the evidence of an alcohol-related cancer risk.
“What you might see is that certain health problems related to alcohol consumption are mentioned on the website, but cancer is missing, or specific types of cancer are missing, particularly breast cancer or colorectal cancer,” said Mark Petticrew, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the research.
The Washington-based International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, or IARD, is accused of misleading the public over the risk of contracting specific types of cancers, and trying to confuse the issue by highlighting a range of other risk factors.
In a statement provided to VOA, the IARD disputed the conclusions, saying: “We believe in sharing the current state of the scientific evidence and stand by the information that we publish on drinking and health.”
Petticrew compares the industry’s actions with those of the tobacco giants, which for a long time disputed the link between cancer and smoking.
“In the U.K., around 4 percent of cancers are attributable to alcohol consumption,” Petticrew said. “I think what’s important to remember is that the risk itself is quite low for people who consume at low levels. But the fact is that the information about the risk that is disseminated by these organizations is distorted and misrepresented.”
The report says further research is needed on whether the alcohol industry is distorting information on other risks, such as cardiovascular disease.