1. Agriculture World

Glyphosate is not a Carcinogen says US Environment Protection Agency

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 30th April 2019 said that glyphosate, a chemical present in several popular weed killers, is not a carcinogen, opposing the decisions of US juries that found it caused cancer in people.

EPA’s announcement reiterates its previous findings on the safety of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup. The company is facing thousands of lawsuits from Roundup users who claim it caused their cancer.

The agency in a statement said, “EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in line with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen”.

It must be noted that farmers generally spray glyphosate, the most extensively used herbicide in US agriculture especially on soybeans fields. Roundup is also used on golf courses, lawns etc.

The Environmental Protection Agency found environmental risks from the chemical and suggested new measures to defend the environment from glyphosate use and to minimize the problem of weeds becoming resistant to it.

Bayer said it was happy that the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators who have evaluated the science on glyphosate for over 40 years continue to conclude that it is not carcinogenic. It said that “Bayer firmly considers that the science maintains the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides”. The firm has repeatedly denied allegations that glyphosate & Roundup cause cancer.

But opponents of the chemical disputed the EPA’s assurances.

A senior scientist at the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, Nathan Donley said, “Unfortunately US consumers cannot trust the EPA assessment of glyphosate’s safety”.

Monsanto developed Roundup as the 1st glyphosate-based weed killer, however it is no longer patent-protected & many other versions are available. Monsanto was bought by Bayer last year for $63 billion.

The argument over glyphosate safety has put a spotlight on regulatory agencies all over the world in recent years & more recently, on America’s courtrooms.

Four years back, the World Health Organization’s cancer wing categorized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” But in 2017, the EPA said a decades-long evaluation of glyphosate risks found the chemical was not likely carcinogenic to humans.

In February, analysts at Anvisa, a Brazilian health agency also determined the weed killer does not cause cancer while suggesting limits on exposure.

In the first US Roundup trial in August 2018, a California man was given $289 million after a state court jury found the weed killer caused his cancer. The award was later cut to $78 million and is being appealed by Bayer.

In March, a US jury granted $80 million to another California man who claimed Roundup use caused his cancer.

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