Debate about the acceptability of Monsanto’s glyphosate has been refuelled by a “state of the science” review released by Pesticide Action Network International.
The Soil and Health Association cited the review in a press statement today, describing it as the product of a large body of research documenting the adverse human health and environmental impacts of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides which (the association maintains) “underscores the need for these to be phased out globally”.
The association is one of several environmental and health advocates which say the monograph on the world’s most widely used herbicide, commonly known as Roundup, should serve as a wake up call for regulators, governments and users around the world.
These advocates say the adverse human impacts detailed in the review include acute poisoning, kidney and liver damage, imbalances in the intestinal microbiome and intestinal functioning, cancer, genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental reduction, neurological damage, and immune system dysfunction.
The association’s press statement says:
“Aggressive public relations and marketing by glyphosate’s developer, Monsanto, has resulted in the widespread perception that the chemical is ‘safe’. Registration processes continue to allow its use without raising concerns about its safety even as new data identifying adverse effects emerge.
“This review dispels the so-called safety claims and highlights the urgent need to re-examine the authorization of products containing glyphosate. A full chemical profile is presented, along with the regulatory status of products containing glyphosate in many countries and information on viable alternatives.
Just a few weeks ago, however, a peer-reviewed study by four independent expert panels dismissed the IARC’s conclusion that the weedkiller was “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
The 16 experts concluded:
“The data do not support IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen’ and, consistent with previous regulatory assessments, further concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.”
The panel’s findings are consistent with the conclusions of regulatory authorities around the world.
Since IARC classified glyphosate, regulatory authorities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
Most recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency reiterated its conclusion that glyphosate should be classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”.
In May , the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) again concluded that glyphosate “is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet”.
In this country, a report on glyphosate commissioned by the Environmental Protection Authority was released late in August. It says the broad-spectrum herbicide is unlikely to be carcinogenic and should not be classified as a mutagen or carcinogen….
The executive summary says:
The majority of human studies did not show an association between exposure to glyphosate and cancer. Although a small number of studies with a limited number of participants [used by WHO’s IARC committee in its decision that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”] found a weak association between glyphosate exposure and increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), others did not”. The studies that found no association between glyphosate exposure and NHL included the largest and most reliable, which included over 50,000 participants… “Based on the inconsistency in the results of the studies on glyphosate exposure and NHL, and the lack of any association in the largest, most robust study, it was concluded that there is no convincing evidence of an association between glyphosate exposure and the development of cancer in humans.
According to a report in GM Watch, the Pesticide Action Network International review has been published ahead of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s meetings on the safety of the chemical later this month.
The European Chemicals Agency is also expected to make a recommendation on glyphosate, which will inform the EU’s decision on whether to ban, restrict, or re-approve the chemical without restrictions.