Not everyone is happy about EPA’s review of glyphosate

The Center for Food Safety says EPA has not conducted necessary research on glyphosate’s safety.

Not all approve of yesterday’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) to declare that there are no risks to human health from glyphosate when used according to label directions. 

“EPA’s announcement that it has concluded its regulatory review of glyphosate is false,” said Ryan Talbott, staff attorney at Center for Food Safety (CFS), in a CFS news release. “The truth is that after a decade of review, the EPA still has not conducted the necessary research on glyphosate’s impacts on human health and threatened and endangered species.”

 “The world’s foremost cancer authorities with the World Health Organization declared glyphosate to be ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ in 2015,” said Bill Freese, CFS science policy analyst in a CFS news release. Besides causing tumors in animal trials, glyphosate exposure has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, in no less than three epidemiology studies of farmers and other pesticide applicators.”

“Far from consulting the ‘best available science,’ as EPA claims, the agency has relied almost entirely on Monsanto studies, cherry-picking the data that suits its purpose and dismissing the rest,” added Freese in the CFS news release. “The EPA’s glyphosate decision shows the same hostility to science that we’ve come to expect from this administration, whether the issue is climate change or environmental health.”

Bayer has countered that although three Roundup-cancer trials in California have so far gone against it, the firm points to what it says is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European, and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed. 

EPA mum on reducing worker exposure and risks, says Benbrook.  

“I am flabbergasted at this decision,” said Chuck Benbrook, project coordinator for Heartland Study, which studies the impact of herbicides on human health and has been critical of glyphosate regulation, in a statement. “There is nothing – zero – in the EPA decision to reduce worker exposures and risks.” 

Benbrook questioned in a statement why EPA ignored thousands of comments to require Bayer/Monsanto and other registrants to remove high-risk surfactants in glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs). Benbrook said in a statement this would make GBH’s sold in the U.S. are as safe as the reformulated products now sold in Europe. 

 He also questioned in a statement why EPA did not require registrants to add onto labels a requirement for mixer-loaders and applicators to wear gloves, long sleeve pants, chemical-resistant shoes (aka rubber boots). Benbrook added in a statement this is especially crucial for applicators who use hand-held equipment and spray a GBH for several hours per day and days per year as part of their job to keep up with weeds on their rural property, homestead, or farm.  

“This irresponsible action by EPA sets the stage for a concerted campaign by activists and public health advocates to ban all uses of GBHs,” said Benbrook in a statement. “For obvious reasons, their prime target won't be this EPA, and will instead focus on major food companies, who won't need much of a push to follow in Kellogg's enlightened footsteps.

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