The science of glyphosate remains unchanged

    15 May 2019

    Decisions by juries in civil litigation cases in the United States that disregard science do not undermine the independent scientific evidence regarding glyphosate safety and must not be allowed to warp public policy or regulatory decisions on agricultural chemistry. The world’s most sophisticated, advanced and scientifically competent regulators have declared glyphosate safe and more than 800 scientific studies and independent regulatory safety assessments support the fact that glyphosate does not cause harm to humans or the environment.

    Earlier this month the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reaffirmed the safety of glyphosate, finding it is not a carcinogen. Their Glyphosate Proposed Interim Decision found there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label.

    The US EPA’s cancer evaluation is more robust than that done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as the US EPA used 15 carcinogenicity studies in its evaluation, almost double the number of studies considered by IARC.

    The US EPA’s process is also significantly more transparent than IARC as its draft evaluation was presented for external peer review with the recommendations and revisions of the assessment provided to the American public.

    The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the European Food Safety Authority and regulatory authorities in Canada, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and many other nations have consistently reaffirmed that glyphosate-based products are safe and not carcinogenic.

    In January this year, Health Canada released their advice after reviewing objections received following the Department’s final re-evaluation decision on glyphosate. In confirming their position on the safety of glyphosate Health Canada said, “Our scientists left no stone unturned in conducting this review. They had access to all relevant data and information from federal and provincial governments, international regulatory agencies, published scientific reports and multiple pesticide manufacturers…Health Canada also had access to numerous individual studies and raw scientific data during its assessment of glyphosate, including additional cancer and genotoxicity studies.”

    The US Agricultural Health Study involving investigators from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 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.

    No pesticide regulatory authority in the world considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans and it’s dangerous when organisations choose to mislead people about the causes of cancer for their own benefit. There continues to be significant misunderstanding of what the IARC monograph is and how a simple hazard monograph is entirely different to comprehensive risk and safety assessments undertaken by regulators of glyphosate-based products.

    Decisions on agricultural chemicals must be made by technically competent and independent regulators.