The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling weed killer Roundup, is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, Reuters reported on 20 December.
In a draft risk assessment report issued on 18 December, the EPA said it found “no other meaningful risks to human health” when glyphosate was used according to its label instructions.
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide and is used in conjunction with crops such as soyabeans, corn, canola and cotton, which are genetically engineered to be immune to it.
The World Health Organization (WHO)’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said in March 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic”, a conclusion rejected by US agrochemical firm Monsanto and farmer groups.
The EPA’s latest assessment “confirms exactly what we’re saying: that agencies across the world say glyphosate is safe and the IARC report is a flawed analysis,” Gordon Stoner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said in the Reuters report.
In November, the wheat growers’ association, Monsanto and other US farm groups sued California to stop it from requiring cancer warnings on products containing glyphosate by July 2018. California added glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017.
On 27 November, the European Union voted to extend the licence for glyphosate for five years, after two years of debate over the herbicide, just weeks its license was due to expire on 15 December.