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Preliminary EPA documents say glyphosate does not cause cancer

Posted by Teresa Steckler - Pasture

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time reading from different sources to keep current.  I came across this article regarding and thought it should be shared...  Recently glyphosate has been in the news; e.g. Quaker Oats is being sued and possible health risks from using the product.

By Jacqui Fatka on Feedstuffs website


On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency inadvertently posted preliminary glyphosate documents to its docket showing that glyphosate is "not likely to be carcinogenic to humans." However, a spokesman for the agency said the documents have now been taken down because EPA's assessment is not final.

"EPA has not completed our cancer review. We will look at the work of other governments as well as work by (the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' 'Agricultural Health Study' as we move to make a decision on glyphosate," the spokesperson said.

EPA said its assessment will be peer-reviewed and completed by end of 2016.

Currently, EPA said it is working through some important science issues on glyphosate, including whether residues of the chemical can be found in human breast milk, an in-depth human incidents and epidemiology evaluation, the International Agency on the Research for Cancer's (IARC's) cancer re-evaluation released in August 2015 and a preliminary analysis ofglyphosate toxicity to milkweed, a critical resource for the monarch butterfly. "We hope to issue the draft cancer risk assessment for public comment later in 2016," EPA said.

Glyphosate is undergoing registration review — EPA's periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory safety standard for registration; that is, the pesticide can perform its intended function with reasonable certainty of no harm to people from residues in food and water and that it will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment when used according to the product label.

If the preliminary assessment holds, EPA would be the third regulator to publish its conclusion that glyphosate is not a carcinogen as part of a registration review since IARC announced an inconsistent classification in March 2015. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) determined in November 2015 that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans." Also in 2015, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Authority (PMRA) concluded that "glyphosate is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk." These conclusions by EPA and the European and Canadian regulatory authorities are based on standard scientific principles and the overwhelming weight of evidence.

Monsanto, maker of glyphosate, said the pesticide has a 40-year history of safe and effective use. "Unfortunately, last year's inconsistent classification by IARC generated unwarranted concern and confusion about this important agricultural tool," Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman and chief executive officer, said.

Monsanto pointed out in its own statement that the initial conclusions by EPA and other regulatory authorities provide important context for the non-standard approach and inconsistent classification by IARC, which classified glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen" in March 2015. The EPA, PMRA and EFSA assessments all identified flaws with IARC's assessment. EPA's conclusion specifically notes that its own assessment "includes all of the studies (epidemiology and animals) reviewed by IARC as well as a subset of animal studies reported in a review article by Greim et al. (2015) but not reviewed by IARC."

Results from any further studies would not change the conclusion that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Among other flaws with the IARC assessment, EPA stated, "The inclusion of the positive findings from studies with known limitations, the lack of reproducible positive findings and the omission of the negative findings from reliable studies may have had a significant bearing on IARC's conclusion on the genotoxic potential of glyphosate."

To assess glyphosate and other pesticides for health and safety, EPA requires companies to fund, perform and submit a wide range of studies to be reviewed by EPA scientists. The studies submitted to EPA by Monsanto and other registrants regarding the health and safety of glyphosate are conducted according to strict and internationally recognized quality standards known as good laboratory practices (GLP), which provide a framework for how laboratory studies are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, audited and archived. These strict compliance guidelines ensure the quality and integrity of the data that are submitted for regulatory review. While U.S. law requires that pesticide registrants fund such studies so the cost is not carried by taxpayers, EPA strictly enforces the GLP program, conducting regular inspections to monitor compliance and prosecuting any violators.



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