Agri Business

US environment agency says glyphosate is not a carcinogen

Reuters | | Updated on: May 01, 2019
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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Tuesday that glyphosate, a chemical in many popular weed killers, is not a carcinogen, contradicting decisions by US juries that found it caused cancer in people.

The EPA's announcement reaffirms its earlier findings about the safety of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup. The company faces thousands of lawsuits from Roundup users, who allege it caused their cancer.

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

The EPA did previously find ecological risks from the chemical and has proposed new measures to protect the environment from glyphosate use by farmers and to reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to it.

”Bayer firmly believes that the science supports the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides,” it said in a statement.

But critics of the chemical disputed the EPA's assurances.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer arm classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” But the EPA in 2017 said a decades-long assessment of glyphosate risks found the chemical was not likely carcinogenic to humans.

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

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

Published on May 01, 2019

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