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EPA Says Glyphosate Likely Doesn't Cause Cancer

Sep 26, 2016

A number of media outlets reported on EPA documents released late last week concluding that the popular herbicide glyphosate is not carcinogenic.

No chemical used by farmers, it seems, gets more attention than glyphosate, also known by its trade name, Roundup, reports Dan Charles for NPR.  That's mainly because it is a cornerstone of the shift to genetically modified crops, many of which have been modified to tolerate glyphosate. This, in turn, persuaded farmers to rely on this chemical for easy control of their weeds.

Glyphosate had been considered among the safest of herbicides. So it was a shock to many, last year, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that the chemical is probably carcinogenic.

Since that announcement, however, others have looked at the same collection of data and come to contrary conclusions. The European Food Safety Agency convened a group of experts who concluded that glyphosate probably does not cause cancer. So did the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency has issued its own report, and it also concludes that glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer in humans. Outside scientists will review the report in October.

The report is part of a lengthy process by which EPA is reviewing many agricultural chemicals, and deciding whether farmers will be allowed to use them.

European regulators, meanwhile, are locked in a political battle over whether glyphosate use will continue to be permitted on that continent. The European Commission has authorized continued sales of the chemical, but only temporarily.

**Additional reporting appeared in Grist, Reuters, Food and Wine, WNAX, DTN, American Council on Science and Health, among others.