1. Agriculture World

Cancer Concerns! Glyphosate War in Brazil

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

Analysts at Brazilian health agency Anvisa have determined that weed-killer glyphosate herbicide does not cause cancer. Though, they recommended certain precautions to be taken while using it.  

Bayer and its unit Monsanto, produces glyphosate-based weedkillers. They have faced legal challenges over allegations that glyphosate causes cancer.  

A new study published this month in the journal Mutation Research, U.S. academics linked high exposure of glyphosate-based products to non-Hodgkin lymphoma which is a type of blood cancer. 

However, Anvisa Director Alessandra Soares said, “There is no scientific evidence that glyphosate causes health damage beyond shown in tests with laboratory animals.”  

Anvisa’s risk analysis team presented its conclusions on Tuesday to the agency’s directors, who voted to advance them to a 90-day public consultation and then a final decision will be taken. 

Brazil bans agrochemicals found to cause cancer and the findings. If approved, it would allow sales of glyphosate which is the most widely sold herbicide in the country. It would allow it to continue with some restrictions. 

No doubt Monsanto is the largest seller of glyphosate-based products in Brazil. The company sells the herbicide under its Roundup brand. It faced US$78 million in damages after a jury in California last year found that its products caused a man’s cancer. 

Now in California, a same trial is also set to begin this week. 

The companies deny the allegations and said that decades of use and hundreds of studies have found their glyphosate-based herbicides are non-cancerous. France and Germany are seeking to curtail the use of the chemical. 

Though, Anvisa analysts found the herbicide to be non-cancerous, it also informed that health risks remain for those exposed to the chemical when it is being applied to crops. It suggested new limits on exposure. 

It proposed maximum daily ingestion limits of 0.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for the general population and 0.1 milligrams for rural workers using the chemical. Earlier there were only chronic exposure limits and no daily limits. 

The agency also recommended banning products sold with concentrations over 1% of the glyphosate active ingredient and adoption of safer application practices to limit exposure. 

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