Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, is not likely to cause cancer in humans, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.
The agency released a slew of documents examining the chemical’s possible human health effects and said it found the “strongest support” for the classification in its cancer guidelines of “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
“The agency’s (draft) assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label,” EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs said. “The agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey."
The review looked at “dietary, residential/non-occupational, aggregate, and occupational exposures,” EPA said. “Additionally, the agency performed an in-depth review of the glyphosate cancer database, including data from epidemiological, animal carcinogenicity, and genotoxicity studies.”
The latest review is certain to be pounced on by supporters of continued glyphosate use. A coalition led by the National Association of Wheat Growers, for example, issued a statement Monday calling attention to EPA’s review.
The coalition is suing the state of California over glyphosate’s inclusion on the state’s Prop 65 list, which includes chemicals “known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.”
In its statement, the NAWG coalition said the EPA finding “demonstrates that California based its proposed listing of glyphosate on unscientific findings from a single Lyon, France-based organization – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).”
IARC released a monograph in March 2015 that concluded glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans, but other regulatory bodies around the world have found otherwise. EPA’s own Cancer Assessment Review Committee also found that glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer.
Using data generated by the Agricultural Health Study, a paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, recently concluded that “no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) and its subtypes.”
EPA also said that its draft ecological risk assessment "indicates that there is potential for effects on birds, mammals, and terrestrial and aquatic plants."
The assessments will be used in the agency's registration review for glyphosate. EPA said it plans to propose its interim registration review decision in 2019.
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