Glyphosate debate should be based on scientific evidence

    8 October 2018

    CropLife Australia, the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, welcomes public and media interest in glyphosate and crop protection innovations. Consumer safety is the top priority of CropLife and our members.

    It is crucial any debate on farming and agricultural chemistry is informed and based on scientific evidence and independent assessment. Public discourse based on hype and myth risks disastrous ramifications for Australia’s agricultural sector and the environmental sustainability of farming. CropLife Australia and our member companies strongly support the robust, rigorous and independent regulatory systems that crop protection products are subjected to here in Australia.

    Following an extensive assessment of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) glyphosate monograph, Health Canada, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority all concluded glyphosate is safe to use.

    Australia’s own independent regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), undertook a comprehensive reconsideration nomination assessment of glyphosate as recently as 2016 following the IARC report and found no grounds for its approved uses to be reconsidered. The APVMA takes new data, information and science into account when considering the ongoing safety of a registered product. Agricultural chemical registrants have a legislated obligation to supply the APVMA with any new data regarding their products as and when it becomes available. The Australian regulatory system for these products is independent and evidence based to ensure the human health and safety for users and consumers.

    Recent evaluations by the European Food Safety Authority, Germany’s Federal Institute for risk assessment (BfR), and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) found unequivocally that glyphosate poses no unacceptable risks either to human health or to the environment.

    More than 800 scientific studies and independent regulatory safety assessments support the fact that glyphosate does not cause harm to humans or the environment.

    The US Agricultural Health Study investigated the risk between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The study analysed data from over 89,000 farmers and their spouses and found no association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma – regardless of the exposure level.

    Glyphosate is a crucial tool for farmers to manage weeds, improve productivity and protect the environment on which they farm. In broadacre cropping, glyphosate has helped farmers adopt minimum or no tillage practices. With conservation tillage, farmers disturb less soil. Conservation tillage can reduce soil erosion by up to 90 per cent and significantly improve water retention. It also increases and maintains carbon storage.

    We encourage all Australians to become informed on these issues from qualified and credible sources.