The controversy surrounding the chemical glyphosate continues as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the weed killer is not a carcinogen—a claim which contradicts recent rulings by U.S. juries and research by the World Health Organization.
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that glyphosate, the chemical contained in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, does not pose a risk to public health and is not a carcinogen when used in accordance with the label. Roundup is currently the most widely used herbicide in the world, being sprayed by farmers, on home lawns, school grounds, and golf courses across the world.
This is the second time since 2017 that the EPA has concluded that glyphosate does not cause cancer. However, the EPA’s statements conflicts with two recent rulings by juries as well as the World Health Organization’s cancer arm which in 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist who represented the coal industry, stated that the EPA would create “new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the former Governor of Georgia with a history of ethics complaints, is also supporting the EPA’s decision, saying glyphosate is needed to feed 10 billion people by 2050. “USDA applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans,” Perdue stated.
Bayer AG, who owns Monsanto Co, said they “firmly believe the science” supports the claim that glyphosate does not lead to cancer. Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, told Reuters that American consumers “cannot trust the EPA assessment of glyphosate’s safety.”
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